Ladies with Buddy's Pizza

Photo courtesy of Michelle Lawton Mullen, Marketing Director of Buddy's Pizza

The History of Detroit-Style Deep Dish Pizza


Calling yourself a Detroiter means something. There is a certain sense of pride that comes with knowing you grew up in the metro Detroit area. One of things we take the most pride in is our food.

The Detroit food scene may seem like it’s fairly new, however there have always been a few special treats that are quintessentially “Detroit.” Drizzling your summer ice cream with Sanders fudge, running to the ice cream truck to get a scoop of Superman ice cream, or certainly, sipping on Vernors when you get an upset stomach. But perhaps most famously, we are known for Detroit Style Pizza.

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This unique style of pizza and its much desired corner pieces has a rich history that begins at a place called Buddy’s Rendezvous (later to be known as Buddy’s Pizza). Back in the 1930’s this establishment originally began as a speakeasy on Six Mile and Conant. By 1946, they were a staple in the community and in expanding their horizons for their beloved customers; they tried their hand at baking pizzas.

Legend has it that these pizzas were originally cooked in blue steel rectangular pans because the proprietors were able to get them at little to no cost from the nearby factories. This simple change in cooking pan resulted in a crunchier, thick-crusted take on the traditional Sicilian-style pizza. As the years went on, the restaurant grew in popularity and slowly, Detroit Style Pizza started to extend its reach.

Former cooks from the original Buddy’s Pizza moved on to start their own establishments, and with a twist on the classic recipe they opened restaurants such as Cloverleaf in Eastpointe, Loui’s Pizza in Hazel Park and even the Shield’s pizza chain.

The popularity of Detroit Style Pizza has been gaining steam in recent years. The options are too long to list, and the style has even made its way all the way to Brooklyn, where a Detroit Style Pizza restaurant has opened, confusing and delighting New Yorkers with a totally different take on pizza than what they are used to.

The original chain, Buddy’s Pizza has announced plans to open a 155-seat restaurant with patio seating in the Detroit Zoo in 2018. Located next to the Rackham Fountain, parents will be able to introduce a whole new generation not only to the amazing animals on display at the zoo, but also the crispy, cheesy, deliciousness that is Detroit Style Pizza.

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