You may have noticed a surge of news about Detroit-style pizza lately. Born and raised in Michigan until I was 13, this newfound interest in the thick, square pies with signature crispy-edged crust may mean that the style is headed my way sometime soon, which makes me very happy.
A couple of years ago, PMQ had two Detroit-style pies entered into the American Pizza Championship. One came in second and the other came in third. It was almost unheard of, seeing as they were the only competitors who had that style in the entire competition, and neither had competed with us before.
The next year, the second place winner, Shawn Randazzo, went on to compete in a Vegas pizza competition and won the title of World Champion Pizza Maker of the Year, against Italians no less! The third place winner from our competition, Jeff Smokevitch, won Gold in the American Pan Competition during the same contest.
Now this is probably pure coincidence, but Little Caesars just introduced a Detroit-style pizza nationwide at the beginning of April. The very same day, Madison Heights, Michigan-based Hungry Howie’s introduced its Detroit-style pizza, with a flavored crust (what the chain is famous for). Hungry Howie’s company executives have said that they decided to add the menu item after they tested it in other parts of the country and it got “very positive” reactions. Chains do not usually introduce new menu items without a fair bit of confidence that the item will do well.
It’s perplexing to me that the Detroit-style pie has been around since the ’40s, and yet it’s just getting its time in the spotlight; most people don’t recognize it the way they would NY-style or Chicago-style. It will be an interesting development to watch. Maybe we’ll start to see other regional pizza styles start to migrate across the country as well.