Supino Is Quietly Redefining Detroit Pizza

By: Aaron B. Cohen | May 19, 2021
Supino Pizzeria

Photo courtesy of Supino Pizzeria.

In a city where deep dish is law, locals have embraced an exception so delicious it can’t be ignored. Since 2008, Supino Pizzeria has defied the status quo, providing masterfully-prepared thin-crust pizza pies to the Metro Detroit community. An institution of the historic Eastern Market district, frenetic demand has led to a new, additional location in Detroit’s New Center.

Opened in February, the Woodward Avenue venue serves the same legendary pies in the epicenter of Detroit’s development. Adjacent to Midtown and increasingly accessible from the city’s northern suburbs, the New Center concept is a no-brainer from a business standpoint. But for owner David Mancini, pizza isn’t just a business – it’s an artform.

It all comes down to the crust. Kitchen staff revel in his tireless pursuit of perfection in this realm. “He came in every day to mix the dough,” said one former employee. “No matter what was going on in his life, he was there.”

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So how does a thin-crust settle in a city devout to deep squares and brick cheese? It began when Mancini took a trip to his father’s native Supino, Italy. It was there – in the nation that gifted pizza to the world – Mancini recognized a style that – while standard along the East Coast – was nowhere to be found in Detroit. He returned eager to share his newly-acquired love with his hometown.

Detroiters embraced the change. Though a centerfold of local pride, even die-hard deep-dish lovers know that taking on a Detroit-style pie can prove to be a massive undertaking. While thin-crust is by no means light fare, it does offer respite from the gut-busting intensity of the city’s traditional pizzas, subbing immeasurable quantities of crust-absorbed grease for a light sprinkling of olive oil. A Buddy’s pizza is as delicious a pizza as any – many would say the best – but that extra slice may result in a night-ending, food-induced coma. Meanwhile, you can split a large Supino pizza pie and walk away with your body intact. That alone was enough to convince an entire city to give it a chance.

And once you try it – realize this pizza isn’t just good, it’s exceptional – you’re a customer for life.

With a thriving flagship restaurant, a brand-new Woodward Avenue location and plans for a new, Italian concept on the way, the Supino brand is stronger than ever. While a deviation from local tradition, it has staked its claim as a rightful contender amongst the city’s elite pies and, in doing so, added nuance to the conversation of what defines the Detroit pizza.