Usually when the debate about pizza comes up people pick one of two sides: New York Style or Chicago Style. Well, little do you know, your favorite
pizza chain may just be what's known as Detroit Style. But first, a bit of history on the two more well known styles of pizza.
For those of you who don't know, Chicago Style Pizza is characterized by its copious amounts of cheese and extra chunky tomato sauce. There are two
main subsets of Chicago Style Pizza: deep dish and stuffed.
The deep dish pizza is often credited to Uno's Pizza, but that's debatable. It is characterized by its thin round crust that forms a deep bowl, that
is often two or more inches deep, for lots and lots of toppings. Because of this thickness in toppings, the pizzas have extraordinarily long cook
times and so they are often made "upside-down," with the cheese on the crust and the tomato sauce on top.
Chicago Style Deep Dish Pizza
The stuffed crust version of Chicago Style Pizza is similar to the deep dish, with a deep round bowl of thin crust, however it is often thicker and
features an extra layer of dough on the top, sealing in the toppings. On top of this extra layer of dough is usually an extra layer of tomato sauce.
The two most well known chains for this style pizza are Giordano's and Nancy's.
Chicago Style Stuffed Crust Pizza
New York Style is also defined by its thin round crust, which is crunchy along the edge and flexible under the toppings. Often sold by the slice as a
street food in New York City, these wide slices are often folded in half and eaten on the go. Baked in coal fired, brick ovens these hand-tossed
pizzas most often have the cheese on bottom and sauce on top. The New York Style pizza began the American love affair with the dish in Little Italy at
Lombadi's Pizzeria in the mid 1900s.
New York Style pizza, showing signature fold
Now both main styles of pizza had two things in common: These round pizzas are based on a thin crust! Detroit Style Pizza differs in these two areas.
First off, it is square or rectangular and, secondly, the pizza has a thick, crispy, yet chewy, crust.
The square shape of the pizza can be attributed to the auto industry of Detroit. Small industrial parts trays from the auto companies were originally
used to bake these pizzas. The crust is often twice baked, and always in a well oiled pan. This heavily oiled pan results in a crust that has a
crunchy fried texture on the bottom and retains a chewiness in the rest of the crust. After cooking the pizza is often coated on top with a butter and
garlic or Parmesan spread before slicing.
Detroit Style Pizza tray
The Detroit Style Pizza, which was first created by Buddy's in 1946, has quickly gained traction as a popular choice. Within years of opening
Buddy's had spawned off many competitors, mostly opened by former Buddy's cooks, such as Shield's, Tower Inn, and Luigi's. However, these chains,
while still in business and regarded as some of the best in the area, never quite made it out of the region.
An example of Detroit Style Pizza, from Shield's
Despite that, the Detroit area is home to five of the nation's largest pizza chains. Here's the breakdown of what we've given the world to
Domino's Pizza: The second largest pizza chain the US and largest worldwide. Over 10,000 locations in 70 countries.
Little Caesars: The third largest pizza chain in the US and has locations around the world.
Hungry Howies: The eleventh largest pizza chain in the US with 575 locations.
Jet's Pizza: Currently over 300 locations in 19 States.
Happy's Pizza: One of the nation's fastest growing pizza chains, having explosive growth in the last decade, now has around 100 locations in six
Due to the rising popularity of the Detroit Style Pizza there are many independent locations throughout the nation serving these pizza. Examples, to
name a few of many, include Tomaso's in Cedar Rapids, IA; Pizza Squared in Tampa, FL; Blue Pan Pizza in Denver, CO; Via 313 in Austin, TX; and Loui
Loui's in Seattle, WA.
So go forth and enjoy a slice or two of America's soon-to-be favorite style pizza. You won't be disappointed!