Detroit is what it builds. 75 years ago a new style of pizza was born in the Motor City and it was different. What makes a pizza Detroit-Style? The same things that made Detroit – a little bit of ingenuity, some stubborn spirit and a whole lot of heart. It’s what sparked an original idea back in 1946 to take a steel auto pan, create something new and make Buddy’s the birthplace of Detroit-Style Pizza.
The Detroit-Style Pizza legacy began at Buddy’s Rendezvous Pizzeria on Six Mile and Conant street on Detroit’s eastside when in 1946 Gus Guerra and team made their first square-shaped pizza. Baked in forged-steel pans borrowed from local automotive plants, they were able to produce a very light and crispy crust which is now known as Detroit-Style Pizza. This was the first known square pizza in the U.S. and now, more than 75 years later, the pizza style has become a national favorite.
“Detroit’s pizza scene is one of the most exciting in the country,” said Food & Wine Magazine.
Detroit-Style Pizza is recognizable by its iconic square shape and crunchy, cheesy corner slices. Influenced by square Sicilian-style pizza, Detroit-Style Pizza consistently impresses pizza lovers due to its unique layering structure and stunning presentation.
The style flips traditional pizza on its head by beginning with double proofed dough perfectly fit to a square pan – a process that allows the dough to rise and be stretched twice – followed by the backwards layering of toppings.
The pepperoni is placed directly on the dough allowing the rich flavors of the meat to be absorbed into the crust. Next, crumbled Wisconsin brick cheese – a proprietary blend created just for Buddy’s – is sprinkled across the pie before the other toppings. Finally, to finish off the unique look, three wide stripes of sauce are skimmed across the top of the pizza before being baked to perfection.
“Detroit-Style Is Motown's Favorite Pizza,” said Pizza Marketing Quarterly.
Today, Buddy’s still uses the same traditional methods as well as its original pans, seasoned to maintain consistent taste, wiped clean to retain the rich flavors and every bite is a taste of Motor City history.
“What makes it special? It’s a rectangular pizza with a thick, buttery crust that’s crispy on the bottom,” said Fodors Travel.
Buddy’s is not only responsible for creating the iconic pizza style, but also for spreading its popularity and inspiring innovation to pizza chains across the country, who are now creating their own interpretation of Detroit-Style Pizza.
In 2016, Thrillist told their followers: “You’re not eating enough Detroit-Style Pizza.”
While Buddy’s has been creating their signature pizza for more than 75 years, the national trend is just starting to take hold. It's not uncommon for fans across the nation to stop by the corner of Six Mile and Conant to visit the place where it all began.
Buddy’s currently operates numerous locations, focused primarily in the Metro Detroit area. Awards from local and national publications line the walls of each restaurant, and more are added every year as Buddy’s continues its culinary legacy.
Through it all, the Buddy’s menu has remained true to its Detroit roots, with its status as a Detroit dining destination being solidified with every pizza coming out of the oven.
As CBS news said, “Detroit cooks up a comeback with its signature pizza.”