We won’t proselytize once again just how much better Detroit deep-dish pizza is than Chicago’s Sahara-dry brick of crust hollowed out sufficient to pour in a tepid pool of marinara sauce. It totally is, but that’s not why we’re here.
Detroit deep-dish pizza is just as much a reflection of Detroit because it is a revelation in https://www.jetspizza.com/menu/pizza. And sure, most outsiders don’t understand it, but Detroiters don’t need the validation of outsiders to be aware what a very important thing they’ve got happening right here. It may be stubborn in the resistance to the standard pizza form, playing fast and loose with the concept of “toppings” and the “order” where they go on, nonetheless its uncompromising individualism is an element of the items can make it so damn enjoyable. Detroit is its deep-dish pizza, and also the deep-dish pizza is Detroit.
Therefore we’re here to pay homage to that most superior of deep-dish pizzas, the deep-dish pizza to which other so-called “deep dish” pizzas aspire to: Detroit deep dish.
First, it starts with a small amount of automotive history. Detroit could be its deep-dish pizza, however it is a lot more and so the Motor City, and lots of local innovations in the last century are directly born looking at the automotive roots. Like our neighborhood-skewering freeways and vast swathes of parking lots. (Nobody said all innovation was inherently good.)
And so it is that, in 1946, Gus Guerra was trying to add new menu things to his struggling neighborhood bar, Buddy’s Rendezvous at 6 Mile and Conant, and acquired several unused blue steel (not the Zoolander pose, the grade of steel) industrial utility trays from the friend who worked at a factory.
He thought the lipped trays would make a great Sicilian-style pizza, despite their rectangular shape. He happened to become right: all of the characteristics which make Detroit deep-dish pizza distinctively itself are the result of the heavy trays, much like cast iron skillets, used to bake them. The crunchy exterior crust soaked through with oil and bubbled over with caramelized cheese, the soft and airy interior crust: it’s all thanks to these repurposed trays.
Legend receives a little shaky here, but the preferred version of local lore is that Guerra’s wife Anna got the dough recipe for his or her signature deep-dish pizza from her Sicilian mother. The alternative story is that an old Sicilian dude named Dominic taught Guerra the “Sicilian way.” Blame the omert?ode of honor for the silence and subsequent speculation. Either way, Detroit deep dish’s roots have been in Sicily, with the unique dough, sfincione, being more similar to a focaccia than what’s typically identified with pizza, which appears to be a defining characteristic about Detroit’s hot take on the subject. It defies what’s considered traditional.
From your Sicilian dough as well as the rectangular trays, the toppings go directly along with the dough; the pizza is then piled over with higher-fat, semi-soft Wisconsin brick cheese all the way to the sides from the pan, melting over the sides of the crust and caramelizing, bubbling up nice and brown on the top and melting in the center. It gets another layer of toppings following that, and, lastly, the ultimate touch: streaks of thick red sauce over top. The effect is a dense deep dish that still manages to be light mfpeyl airy, filled with flavor and lots of the coveted corner pieces to visit around.
There is no dispute that Buddy’s — now with 11 locations throughout Metro Detroit — was the originator, as well as the other local institutions which have produced a name for themselves using their own versions of Detroit jet’s hours did so through a matter of cultural diffusion.
Just across the road from Buddy’s, the owners of Shield’s took notice with their competitor’s newfound popularity and hired away Buddy’s long-time chef, Louis Tourtrois Sr., to help make their pies. Shield’s has since expanded to three locations in the suburbs (the original Detroit location is gone). Tourtrois eventually advanced to open his own pizzeria, Loui’s Pizza in Hazel Park, widely considered among locals to be the best of the class.