Information and History About Pizza in Detroit

Detroit holds a unique place in the nation’s pizza history; not only is the city the pizza-chain capital, it created its own unique regional style of pizza. Whether you're a fan of Domino's or Jet's Pizza restaurants, you can think Detroit for these national chains.

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Detroit-Style Pizza

According to Serious Eats, 21 regional varieties of pizza have been identified across the nation. The square, deep-dish pizza sold Italian-bakery style in Detroit's particular claim to fame. In other words, you can order a square/slice over the bakery counter that is often served in tin foil.

You may associate deep-dish pizza with Chicago, but Detroit’s style of deep-dish pizza is worlds apart from the Windy City’s. Chicago’s deep-dish pizza is more of a pie, while Detroit’s deep dish is square with a thick, doughy crust that is often twice baked and served golden brown around the edges. The sauce is also served on top of the cheese and other ingredients.

The Sicilian-style pizza was originally introduced as a new menu item in 1946 at Buddy’s Rendezvous on Conant, a tavern and one-time blind pig owned by “Gus” Guerra. Buddy's today continues to rise in popularity across the country thanks to this unique style of pizza.

If you want, you can also make a Detroit-style, deep dish pizza at home by following the instruction in Mahalo's "How to Make Detroit Style Pizza."

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Four Top-Selling Chains in the Nation

Two of the top four pizza chains in the nation were spawned in or immediately around Detroit, and according to Pizza Today, four of the top 20 pizza chains in the nation (in terms of sales) originated in the Metro-Detroit area:

  • Number 1: Domino's ($12,252,100,000)
  • Number 3: Little Caesars Pizza ($4,000,000,000)
  • Number 11: Hungry Howie's Pizza ($410,336,588)
  • Number 13: Jet’s Pizza ($372,294,000)

Other well-known chains originating in the city include Shield’s and Buddy’s Pizza, which continues to climb up the charts in sales (Number 53 in 2018).

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Best-Tasting Pizza in Detroit

While having a big slice of the national pizza market is all well and good, taste is important, too. Four of the top-tasting pizzas nationally, at least according to Alan Richman of GQ Magazine in his article, "The 25 Best Pizzas You'll Ever Eat," are located in the Metro-Detroit area:

  • Number 13: Luigi’s “The Original” in Harrison Township
  • Number 15: Buddy’s in Detroit
  • Number 21: Tomatoes APizza in Farmington Hills
  • Number 24: Niki’s in Detroit
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