OOur shortlist of notable pizza parlors
Published: July 13, 2011
Amar Pizza 11608 Conant St., Hamtramck; 313-366-0980; $: Hamtramck's Bangladeshi strip is heating up with all sorts of interesting food choices. There's even a Bangladeshi pizzeria. Yes, it's true, and they serve it up round, square, even deep-dish-style. They even have a naga sauce they'll put on the pizza, reminiscent of jalapeño but spicier and more fragrant. They'll sell you an impressive Chicago-style pizza or a Detroit-style deep-dish for just $5. Their hot pizzas are so hot they warn: "Eat at your own risk!"
Amici's Pizza and Living Room 3249 W. 12 Mile Rd., Berkley, 248-544-4100, $$, Pizza crust made with bran, biodegradable dishes and soy candles, no smoking, no TV, even a couple of organic vodkas — Amici's manages both to be virtuous and to pull it off without a hint of self-righteousness. It is a bar, after all, and it's hard to say whether patrons are more interested in the vegan pizzas or the 64 cocktails, 35 beers and 5 premium tequilas on offer. They can combine the two impulses by ordering Red Bridge beer, gluten-free. What's more, they have a back patio that hits the summertime spot.
Barb's Pasties & Pizza 610 S. Main St., Clawson; 248-435-5251; $: Heck, here's an interesting one: Not only can you get pizza, but you can also indulge in that U.P. delicacy, the pasty, made hot and fresh every day. (Think of it as a Yooper calzone.) As for the pizza, it's less than $6 for a personal six-piece, and less than $21 for a super-large five-item pie.
Benito's Pizza 19 locations in metro Detroit, see benitospizza.com: Specialty pizzas include Hawaiian (bacon, ham, pineapple and double cheese), vegetarian (mushrooms, onion, green pepper, tomatoes and green olives), and get as ambitious as the "Big Meal" (pepperoni, ham, onions, mushrooms, green peppers, ground beef, Italian sausage, green olives and, natch, extra cheese). They all cost the same, $17.40 for a large, $20.40 for a deep dish. And with more than a dozen locations over the sprawl-plex, you're probably within a mile of one right now.
Brooklyn Pizza 111 Henrietta, Birmingham; 248-258-6690; $$: Brooklyn is considered the home of the North American pizza, and the owners of Brooklyn Pizza describe their pies as New York-style pizza cooked in a brick oven, fueled by coal or wood. This method creates a thin, crisp crust that snaps and shatters when you take a bite. This is one place where you can still watch the pizza chefs flip a disk of dough in the air. Ice cream, gelato and Italian ices are made on the premises.
Brown Jug 1204 S. University Dr., Ann Arbor, 734-761-3355, $$: This place is a student fave, serving breakfast all day long. And there's much more than "Uncle Pat's" pizza here, including everything from vegetarian fajitas to a 12-bone slab of ribs, but the pizzas aren't just an afterthought. They come in "thin and crispy," deep-dish and hand-tossed renditions, or as a calzone. They do have plenty of toppings to choose from, including fresh tomatoes, scallions, pepper jack cheese, lettuce and jalapeño peppers.
Buddy's Restaurant & Pizzeria 17125 Conant St., Detroit; 313-892-9001; 22148 Michigan Ave., Dearborn, 313-562-5900; see buddyspizza.com for seven other locations, including Farmington Hills, Warren and Livonia; $$: Perennial winner of our best neighborhood pizza category, after living a full life as a neighborhood speakeasy, Buddy's original location on Conant Street only started pumping out its award-winning pizza in 1936. And though it has expanded to nine locations all over southeastern Michigan, it has clearly retained the neighborhood cred.
Capri Italian Bakery 4832 Greenfield Rd., Dearborn; 313-584-4449; $: Anybody who grew up on square, bakery-style pizza knows just how emotionally connected you can become to the food you eat as a toddler. And this bakery, open since the 1970s, still serves up those big trays of square pizza wrapped in a big white paper bag. And not only is it just as good as you remember, you get the full tray for just $18. Hey, you can go home again!
Capri Pizzeria 30735 Greenfield Rd., Southfield; 248-647-7770; $: Not to be confused with the Capri Bakery in Dearborn, you can get the same sort of Italian bakery-style pizza here, a bit thinner than most. But it's affordable, with a 10-slice pepperoni pizza going for $10.99. No seating; delivery and carryout only; near 13 Mile Road.
Cloverleaf Bar & Restaurant 24443 Gratiot Ave., Eastpointe; 586-777-5391; $: Cloverleaf's thick, square pizza isn't the tradition that mini-chain Buddy's has become, which is a shame. You see, after opening Buddy's as a speakeasy in the Dirty '30s, Gus Guerra started selling pizza in the '40s and business took off. In the 1950s, Guerra sold it with the recipe and started Cloverleaf in what was then East Detroit. So you get a story with your pie. There's a full menu with something for the little ones, reasonable prices, a casual atmosphere.
Como's 22812 Woodward Ave., Ferndale; 248-548-5005; $$: Oh, yeah! We always forget that Como's serves food, including pizza pies. On a boozy day on their outdoor patio, they must come in handy once it's time to sober up and hit the happy hunting ground that is Woodward between Eight and Nine.
Cottage Inn 546 Packard, Ann Arbor; 734-769-5555; 512 E. William, Ann Arbor; 734-663-3379; $: At Cottage Inn, everything is made from scratch. And there's more than pizza, with lasagna, chicken pasta, and more. But the pizzas, round or deep dish, regular or specialty, have built a loyal following.
Crust Pizza & Wine Bar 2595 Rochester Rd., Rochester Hills; 248-844-8899; 6622 Telegraph Rd., Bloomfield Plaza, Bloomfield Township; 248-855-5855; $$: The flavors at Crust are a revelation — not to mention the wines chosen to go along with them. Lots of people pick up a pizza after work, and maybe a six-pack. For not a lot more money, you can have more fun at Crust, where the "Naples classics" attest to the Neapolitan way of thinking, where crust is supreme.
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