C hicago has its deep dish. New York has its thin crust. LA has... well, a little bit of everything. Sure, Detroit pizza may not be as widely celebrated throughout the country, and it rarely finds itself in the midst of any celebrity culinary brouhahas, but it’s every bit as delicious, if not more so. From the square and crispy to the thin and greasy, Detroit pizza is a force to be reckoned with -- here are 16 of metro Detroit’s must-visit pizza destinations.
Pepe Z Pizza

Pepe Z

Southwest Detroit

Late-night pizza bar inside a music venue
If you happen to be catching a show inside El Club in Southwest, you absolutely need to grab a slice from Pepe Z’s. Located inside the venue, the pizza counter serves whole pies and slices late into the night. Even “basic” selections like pepperoni, or should I say “Pepe´-roni” are kicked up a notch with flavor pairings like local Michigan honey. For a truly odd-yet-delectable slice, opt for the green pizza. Yes, green. The West Vernor Taco Truck pizza is topped with fresh salsa verde, carnitas, radish, cilantro, pickled jalapeño, and Cotija cheese. Every pizza on the menu can also be made vegan, vegetarian, or gluten free.

Cloverleaf

Eastpointe

Legendary chain serving classic square pies
While a handful of Detroit pizzerias can claim they invented the first "Detroit-style" pie, Cloverleaf has the history to back it up. Founder Gus Guerra began dishing out the square slices back in 1946 at Buddy’s Rendezvous; after he split from Buddy’s in ‘53, he opened Cloverleaf, which soon became an eastside mainstay. Today, you can stop into one of its multiple locations for a taste of that same hand-tossed, deep-dish Detroit pizza you really can’t get anywhere else.

Belle Isle Pizza

Belle Isle Pizza

West Village

Quaint, pick-up-only hole in the wall
Located on Detroit’s eastside between the Villages and Rivertown, Belle Isle pizza may be one of Detroit’s best-kept secrets. The tiny storefront dishes out seriously gourmet pizzas in both square and NY styles; each pie is made from scratch and fired in a brick oven. Favorites include a line of specialty pies named after Detroit neighborhoods, like the Corktown (made with Sy Ginsberg corned beef, Thousand Island dressing, Swiss cheese, sauerkraut, and caraway seeds).

Pop + Offworld

Downtown

'80s-themed bar/arcade serving outlandish NY-style pizza
One of Detroit’s newest pizza places, Pop + Offworld isn’t afraid to have a little fun. With offerings described as the “pizza you would make if you were 17 and stoned,” you might expect a less-than-average-slice, but just because the pies are fun here doesn't mean they're not good. Pies are adorned with pop culture-themed names like the Pig Destroyer and Caper Crusader. But while the pizzas are fun, they are also really good. Get cheesy with the Super Saiyan, topped with house-made red sauce, blue cheese, Cheddar, Parmesan, and Cheetos. Don’t forget to wipe your hands and set a high score on one of the more than 30 classic arcade games.

Brass Rail Pizza Bar

Brass Rail

Downtown

Pizza bar with customizable specialty pies
Taking the spot of the former RUB BBQ, Brass Rail is one of the few pizza places within walking distance of venues like Comerica Park, the Fox Theatre, and the Fillmore. The pizza menu is highlighted by kitschy selections that don’t skimp on flavor or quality. Try the Chip Off the Ole Block, made with mozzarella, cippolini onions, arugula, lemon zest, bacon, and a balsamic reduction -- then, add on a fried egg for just a couple bucks more. The location also offers gluten-free pizzas.

La Lanterna

Downtown

Northern Italian and Neapolitan pies in a trendy, bright setting
Don’t call it a comeback, but after 40 years, this Capitol Park restaurant known for its authentic Northern Italian cuisine returned earlier in 2017. The location is known for its Neapolitan-style pizzas, baked fresh in a brick oven. Classics like the Rustica have been winning over diners new and old, topped with fresh mozzarella, prosciutto, red bell pepper, blue cheese, and extra-virgin olive oil.

Loui’s Pizza

Hazel Park

Detroit Mainstay specializing in square, deep-dish pies
The appeal of Loui’s is twofold. First, the authentic Detroit-style pizza is deliciously rich, smothered in cheese, and loaded with ham, bacon, and (optional) peppers. Second, the classic hole-in-the-wall feel with ancient Chianti bottles hanging from the ceiling somehow makes it all taste even better.

Pie-Sci

Pie Sci

Corktown

Pizza “laboratory” specializing in funky, seasonal pies
After establishing its brick-and-mortar location in 2016, this former pop-up has made a name for itself with odd toppings, hilarious names, and downright delicious pizzas. The thin-crust creations are seasonal, and change regularly, with toppings like kimchi, curry ketchup, tater tots, plantains, or even a mint-blueberry chutney. Follow Pie Sci on Facebook and Instagram to catch its weekly pizza specialties.

Niki’s Pizza

Greektown

Square pizza with a distinctly Greek twist
If you find yourself in Greektown thinking, "yes, right now what I need is a genuine Detroit-style square pizza," you are very smart, and Niki’s has your solution. If you want to stay authentic to the 'hood, you can even get a feta-topped slice, or a Greek (which adds lamb, onion, and tomato into the mix). Either way, Niki's is there for you until 2am (and 4am on Fridays and Saturdays).

Motor City Brewing Works

Motor City Brewing Works

Midtown

Charred, brick-oven pizzas highlighting local ingredients
Good beer, and good pizza: It's a combination that has proven effective over generations of important research. MCBW understands this, which is why it turns out blistered brick-oven pizzas like the Godfather (pesto, goat cheese, red peppers, garlic) and the Bronx Bomber (bacon, Italian sausage, pepperoni, four cheeses, and more). You don't NEED to enjoy a beer with them, but, well, you're already there, right?

PizzaPapalis

Multiple locations

Local chain serving hefty Chicago deep dish
Just because we love our squares in Detroit doesn't mean we don't have some deep-dish game, too. PizzaPapalis nails the combo of gooey cheese, tangy sauce, and at least an INCH of meats and veggies, holding its own against any genuine Chicago-style pie. One slice is a meal, and one pie will feed you for a week.

Ottava Via

Corktown

Thin-crust pies in a classic Italian cafe
Ottava Via’s Neapolitan-esque pizzas have rightfully gained a loyal following. Expect thin crusts, garlicky veggies, the presence of ingredients like arugula and pancetta jam... in other words, this isn’t the place you go to grab takeout and then park yourself in front of the Red Wings game on your couch. Take a seat, and savor every crispy bite like a proper grownup.

Jeff Waraniak/Thrillist

Supino Pizzeria

Eastern Market

Gourmet pizza with high-quality toppings
When it comes to the round sort of pizza, you simply aren't doing any better in Motown than Supino’s. Hand-tossed dough, fresh toppings from Eastern Market, smoked gouda, smoked turkey, ricotta; the ingredients and the flawless American/Neapolitan-style hybrid crust make Supino's a Sup-erior (!) specimen.

Amar Pizza

Hamtramck

NY- and deep dish-style pies with Eastern spices
Two words: Ghost Pizza. More words: tandoori chicken, red onions, cilantro, and ghost sauce. Amar's most notorious pizza comes with a warning to eat at your own risk, but it’s only because the folks there care about your well being -- "Amar" translates to "my" in Bengali, which is to say, as the slogan goes, "my pizza is your pizza." Don't let the cross-cultural translations fool you, though, as this place knows its way around both thin-crust and square-cut pies.

Flickr/Yelp Inc.

Buddy’s Pizza

6 Mile

OG institution for classic Detroit-style pies
Life may not get better than a crunchy corner slice of Buddy’s pizza, and if this local mecca didn’t feature prominently on our list, we'd be doing a disservice to pizza lovers everywhere. From the BBQ chicken to the Detroiter (cheese, pepperoni, and Buddy’s Sicilian spice blend), these square, pan-style pizzas with their perfectly crispy crust represent the apex of Detroit-style pizza craftsmanship.

Sgt. Pepperoni’s

Midtown

Classic greasy spoon serving specialty pies, late
Where else can you bowl, catch a show, AND stuff your face with some fantastic pizza? Sgt. Pepperoni’s, that’s right. The food counter serving both the Magic Stick and Garden Bowl can do the classics damn well, but the specialty pizzas are really what make this place stand out, like the nameless chorizo/cheddar/tortilla chip pizza above. Selections also include the BLT, veggie pesto, and occasionally, the Greater Mac -- it's like a Big Mac, but... greater.

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Detroit's Best New Restaurants of 2017

Published On 11/13/2017
I t was another interesting and exciting year for metro Detroit’s culinary scene. From unexpected shutterings (RIP La Rondinella) to an influx of burger spots, arcade bars, new breweries and restaurants, there was certainly no shortage of food news in 2017. And, while the industry shows no immediate signs of slowing down, six new spots stopped us in our tracks, serving everything from elevated bar fare to hot bowls of curry. During another impressive year for Detroit, these newcomers earned the title of the 2017 best restaurants -- an increasingly impressive feat in a rapidly growing space.
courtesy of joebar

Joebar

Hazel Park

A new neighborhood favorite focused on decadent pub food and dip sandwiches
Nestled off of John R Road in Hazel Park, Joebar’s neighborhood vibe and communal seating were an unexpected addition in 2017, especially as this is owner Joe Vaughn’s first restaurant. As a renowned food photographer, though, it’s easy to see that Vaughn knows what makes good restaurants tick. Headed by executive chef Courtney Witter, previously of Mabel Gray, the menu features elevated bar fare and dip sandwiches and elevated bar fare that is anything but ordinary. Options like the famed Joe dip, made with tender, slow-roasted prime rib, caramelized onions, and house-made horseradish, or massive burgers specials made with brisket, chuck, and short rib, keep the “average Joe” spirit alive without skimping on quality. But that’s not all. On some nights, a second, “secret” dining space known as Frame hosts regular chef residencies, featuring notable names such as George Azar of Flowers of Vietnam.

Lady of the House

Corktown

Snout-to-tail butchering and subtle Irish influences at this highly anticipated opening
After months of anticipation, chef Kate Williams' first solo venture opened in late September, and the Corktown restaurant has more than lived up to the hype so far. Williams blends her Irish heritage with whole animal butchering and local ingredient sourcing for inspired, chef-driven dishes. Dinner service begins with a traditional Irish tea, followed by offerings like decadent tartars, whole roasted chicken, and seasonally rotating cuts of lamb. The location also touts a hefty beverage program, highlighted by sherry and sake on tap, rancio wines, and a proprietary Lady of the House gin. The former St. CeCe’s space has been completely redone, subbing out the old wood look for clean white walls and a warm, subtly feminine decor, which is more than appropriate given the concept and cuisine. From start to finish, Williams and her talented team have shown impressive attention to detail. Well worth the wait.

Jenna Belevender photography

Voyager

Ferndale

Coastal-inspired restaurant specializing in oysters and raw offerings
It’s no surprise Voyager was a seemingly instant success after opening in March. Headed by revered chefs Justin Tootla and Jennifer Jackson, the seafood-forward restaurant hits all the major points: fresh, flavorful, and inventive cuisine. Even with the closest ocean about 1,000 miles away, somehow this Ferndale serves seafood that solely tastes like it was just caught. Oysters are served from “tide to table” within 24 hours, even with well over a dozen varieties, and Voyager also prides itself on its sustainable fare, utilizing wild-caught and responsibly farmed fish. With so many offerings, including standouts like the chili crab spaghetti and rotating catch of the day, the menu can admittedly seem a bit daunting. However, the attentive and knowledgeable staff is more than happy to make suggestions. The restaurant rounds out the menu with a variety of seafood-friendly wines, various craft beers, a handful a craft cocktails like their signature mai tai, made with hazelnut orgeat syrup and tangerine liqueur.

Maty's African Cuisine

Old Redford

Hole-in-the-wall serving seriously comforting Senegalese cuisine
The city’s (and arguably the state’s) only Senegalese restaurant is a welcome breath of fresh air, specializing in eclectic West African cuisine with menu standouts like whole chicken and fish, lamb shanks, and shawarmas. Served alongside massive portions of flavorful sides like yellow rice, couscous, and fried plantains, each meal is seriously comforting and well worth the slightly elevated price point. Maty's is deeply personal for owner Amady Gueye, who opened the place with money saved from odd jobs (including a stint as an Uber driver) -- it's named after his wife, Maty, and the couple run the kitchen alongside Gueye’s mother. For any other restaurant it'd be a hopeless cliché, but you really can taste the love in every bite here.  

Michelle & Chris Gerard

Ima

Corktown

Japanese-inspired spot focused on noodle soups, rice bowls, and curries
While this Corktown hot spot technically opened right on the cusp of the new year, the restaurant truly found its stride in 2017 with a number of exciting updates and a continued commitment to making the most delicious food possible. Headed by chef and owner Mike Ransom, the Japanese-inspired eatery specializes in warm and comforting noodle soups, rice bowls, and spicy curries, with dangerously delicious shareable plates like the steamed edamame (served with chilis, lemon, olive oil, sea salt). The dishes are unapologetically untraditional, incorporating bold ingredients like rich smoked pork loin and barbecue-glazed eel, and in the last few months, the noodle house added a lunch service, extended dinner hours, and secured its liquor license. Diners can now choose from a curated list of beers, sake, and shochu, a popular Japanese distilled liquor. All in all, an impressive first year for a small noodle shop.

River Bistro

Rosedale Park

Cozy, casual spot for low country, Caribbean, and African cuisine
Headed by chef Maxcel Hardy, who's planning on opening three (yes, three) restaurants in the next year, River Bistro made a splash after opening its doors in August. While seating is minimal (the emphasis is on carry-out and delivery), the kitchen here is turning out high-quality, flavorful, chef-driven takes on soul food with African and Caribbean inspiration. Hardy's impressive resume has garnered him national attention, and for good reason -- he was first runner-up on the Food Network’s Chopped, with past clients including the prince of Dubai, the prime minister of Turks and Caicos, and former NBA star Amar’e Stoudemire, among others. Using his grandmother’s recipes (who was said to have cooked for some favorite Motown artists), he's created a inspired menu highlighted by familiar favorites like jerk ribs and chicken wings, and elevated by additions like house-made guava barbecue sauce. We can’t wait to see what the future holds for this audacious chef.