Detroit Has The Auto Industry To Thank For Its Superior Pizza

Picture taken in 1946 at Detroit showing workers in action on an assembly line in the Ford factory.
Picture taken in 1946 at Detroit showing workers in action on an assembly line in the Ford factory.
Image: Photo by -/INTERCONTINENTALE/AFP via Getty Images (Getty Images)

I know, we are a bit infamous for our bad pizza takes around here, but here is a pizza take I will gladly defend all day: Detroit-style pizza is the best kind of pizza. And I don’t hold that opinion just cause I love my town. I’ve had pizza across this great nation and Detroit’s is legitimately the best. It’s got a crunchy, airy crust like New York-style, that still manages to be thick and satisfyingly chewy but not cakey (or gritty from cornmeal) like Chicago-style. And like so many things in the Motor City, Detroit-style pizza actually has the auto industry to thank for its existence.

When I saw Pizza Hut is now offering (for a limited time!) Detroit-style pizza I got excited, then sad. Excited because the world needs this gooey square delicacy to spread far and wide, and sad because I know the Hut just isn’t going to do my pointy crunchy hometown hero justice.

As an example of the ideal form, here is a bubbly four-cornered slice of heaven I picked up from Loui’s in Hazel Park, MI, not two weeks ago; an anything-but-standard pepperoni and cheese:

Directly into my arteries, please and thank you.
Directly into my arteries, please and thank you.
Photo: Erin Marquis

Not to hate on Pizza Hut (I got a lot of personal pans as a kid for reading a lot of books I was gonna read anyway) but the above is a far cry from this:

Oh, no baby, what are you doing?
Oh, no baby, what are you doing?
Image: Pizza Hut

Is that sauce sitting in a cup of pepperoni? What is happening here? What Pizza Hut needs to do is head to this most pleasant peninsula and learn a thing or two from Buddy’s Pizza, the home of the Detroit-Style pizza. It’s been making square pizza since 1946, when Gus Guerra jammed some dough in one of the industrial Blue Steel pans that were ubiquitous in the automotive factories in Detroit. The pans were used to ferry smaller parts around the shop floor, but Guerra coated one with a little oil and boom, the Detroit-style pizza was born. The steel is an excellent conductor of heat, which allows for an evenly baked crispy crust and that wonderful crunch of burnt cheese on top.


As Bloomberg points out, the story may be total B.S., but it’s the one I grew up hearing from my grandparents who ate at the original Buddy’s on Conant St. Everything else in this town was shaped by the auto industry, it makes sense that our pizza would be too. So if you have a chance, give Detroit-style pizza a shot. There’s probably a hip place experimenting with it near you. Just don’t rely on Pizza Hut to give you the authentic Detroit experience.

Managing Editor of Jalopnik.

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Matt Brown

Everyone in the comments needs to take a big step down from their high horse flavored pizza.

“Your pizza opinion is dumb and mine is the only correct one!” is trite.

All pizza deserves love. All pizza has a place. From the extremely bad Chef Boyardee to the one true and best style of pizza: Naples-style.

And if you disagree you are bad and wrong.