It's Worth Getting Sloppy For This Grilled Cheese Taco
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.
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.
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).
'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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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).
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?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.