Detroit Pizza

A tapestry of authentic cuisines

Detroit’s gastronomy is like a treasure map. At the Eastern Market we sample an array of ethnic delicacies from perogies stuffed with corned beef and Swiss cheese to buttery sweet Chess pie. Over lunch at Slows Bar-B-Q we sink into a soulful platter of smoky beef brisket and tender chicken, smoked, pulled, seasoned and glazed with an apple bbq sauce. Trending now are Detroit’s East African restaurants like Baobab Fare offering a taste of Burundi.

Just outside Detroit, Dearborn is home to the largest Muslim population in the U.S. per capita with a constellation of Middle Eastern restaurants representing Lebanese, Syrian, Iraqi, Turkish and Yemenite cuisines. At Sheeba Restaurant, a Fahsah of shredded lamb stewing and simmering in a clay pot is aromatic, savoury comfort food. There is no more perfect afternoon treat than the indulgence of Kurdish pistachio coffee with a sweet assortment of Baklava, Tulumba, and Turkish Delight at Galata Sweets. The décor and ambience make us forget where in the world we are.

Baklava and Turkish Delight
Baklava and Turkish Delight
Every city claims to be the Best Pizza City. In Detroit, it’s not merely about being the best, it’s about being authentic to the iconic Detroit style. What is that? It’s not thick like Chicago deep dish, but it has an airy, toasty crust with Wisconsin brick cheese caramelizing at the edges; and it is rectangular-shaped. Why? Apparently, the rectangular-style steel tray in which the pizza is baked was originally designed for drip pans in the automotive plants. For those who appreciate a crust with integrity rather than a floppy disk, once you go Detroit, you don’t go back. Buddy’s Pizza claims the original, so this is where we start. It’s all about the crunch and the balance of cheese and sauce, satisfying like a gourmet grilled cheese sandwich. Loui’s Pizza is another institution. The perfect crunch envelopes a pillow of soft dough and, true to Detroit-style, the pepperoni topping is underneath layered sharp cheese and tangy tomato sauce. This is a decadent mic drop. Just across from the Eastern Market, Suppino Pizzeria beckons. Theirs is a thin crust that is so light, crisp and flaky, and it tastes market-fresh. Everyone I meet has a different recommendation. One local friend of mine raves about Pie Sci Pizza, and their innovative pies including a zaatar crust, hummus, mozzarella, chicken, red onion, feta cheese and toum (Lebanese garlic sauce.) Next time. One tip about Detroit pizza: if you’re sharing, fight for the corners!

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