OOur shortlist of notable pizza parlors
Published: July 13, 2011
D'Amato's 222 S. Sherman Dr., Royal Oak; 248-584-7400; $$: Neighborhood Italian joint has eclectic and "from scratch" fare. A fresh Caesar or Caprese salad will run you $6, and a pizza with feta, grape tomatoes, roasted banana peppers, kalamata olives and more is $8. Tender, fluffy gnocchi of ricotta and spinach come surrounded with a rich sauce, and veal saltimbocca arrives on soft layers of rapini and gnocchi, resting in a silky Marsala sauce. There are many more beef, chicken and seafood entrées, and 30 glasses and 60 bottles of wine to wash them down. What's more, there's often live music (call for schedule) and legendary Royal Oak martini bar Goodnight Gracie is connected to the restaurant.
Dearborn Italian Bakery 24545 Ford Rd., Dearborn; 313-274-2350; $$: This is the kind of pie that seemingly improves after a night in the fridge. Their "taco pizza" puts a new twist on this old classic. They come large, but get a smaller one and leave room for their good desserts selection.
Frank's Restaurant & Pizzeria 3144 Biddle St., Wyandotte; 734-282-0512; $: Reputable Wyandotte pizza stop says their most popular pies, in addition to the ubiquitous pepperoni, is their "Frank's special" (ham, mushroom, green peppers, onion on an extra-large for $13.15) or the deluxe (pepperoni, hamburger, ham, green peppers, onion and, if that ain't enough, bacon on an extra-large for $14.75).
Giorgio's 117 S. Main St., Rochester; 248-601-2882; $$: Here's your place for hand-tossed, brick-oven pizza in downtown Rochester. And they have more than just that. Giorgio's serves slices, full pies, gourmet pizzas, stuffed pizzas, calzones, and stromboli. Toppings run from anchovies to sun-dried tomatoes, and they'll even top it with grilled chicken. If you want it from the comfort of your own home, delivery charge is $2.50 with minimum $10 order. Open 11 a.m.-10 p.m. Monday-Thursday, until 11 p.m. Friday-Saturday, and noon-10 p.m. Sunday.
Gracie See Pizzeria 6887 Greenfield Rd., Detroit; 313-581-8070; $$: Yes, there's one in Inkster (26734 Michigan Ave., Inkster; 313-359-0900) that opened a few years ago, but you gotta go to the one on the border of Dearborn and Detroit: This warren of rooms is a classic, old-fashioned pizzeria right down to the jukebox, wood paneling and waitresses who call you "hon'." And the pizzas are thin-crust softies that come on a grand, stand-up salver so you have room for your drinks. And you'll find everyone here, from bowling leagues to prom kids, no crowd is too hip for this room. Full bar.
Green Lantern Lounge 28960 John R, Madison Heights; 248-541-5439; 4326 Rochester Rd., Royal Oak; 248-298-3005; $$: As in most older pizza palaces, the kitchen first made thin-crusted round pies and only added the deep-dish variety around seven years ago. Both come in four sizes from 10 inches ($5.65-$6.15) to 16 inches ($10.90-$12.15) with the 10-inch mini suitable for two. The price structure here and throughout the menu is quite reasonable, another explanation for the Green Lantern's popularity. Best of all, they use the pepperoni that curl up into little "grease cups." Ah, the Midwest.
La Zingara 769 Erie St. East, Windsor; 519-258-7555; $$: La Zingara serves wonderfully simple appetizers that rely on the excellence of their ingredients and terrific pizzas. Their best-selling pie is Quattro Stagioni (Four Seasons), with ham, artichokes and black olives. The prosciutto pizza doesn't stint on that salt-cured delicacy; a thin sheet is laid over each slice, for plenty of salty, gamy flavor. This old-style pizza joint also offers many homemade pastas. Open every evening.
Lona's Pizza 25877 Ford Rd., Dearborn Heights; 313-274-0100; $$: A friend says this place is great, and for those on the Beech Daly Ford axis (it's on the southwest corner) you can't miss giving it a shot. It's affordable, just $9.95 for a large with one topping, and $11.30 for a two-topping large. Carryout and delivery only, but free delivery with a $10 order or more. Open since 1960.
Loui's Pizza 23141 Dequindre Rd., Hazel Park; 248-547-1711; $: None of the glitterati treks to Loui's for its elegant decor or haute cuisine, and none of the regular patrons comes to see the occasional glitterati who wander in. This is a quintessential pizza joint — hundreds of straw-covered Chianti bottles signed by diners fill virtually every inch of wall space, the tables are covered with glass-protected red-checked cloths, the food is served on plain plastic tableware. Aficionados flock to Loui's for the uniquely charred, thick-crust, deep-dish pizza.
Luigi's 36691 Jefferson Ave., Harrison Township; 586-468-7711; $$$: The somewhat kitschy setting of checkered tablecloth, faux grapevines and strings of small red and green lights don't prepare you for the quality of service. Whether you're dining in the dark and boisterous front room or the more sedate and well-lit back, you're sure to be impressed by the efficiency of the waitstaff. And we can't rave enough about Luigi's exceptional pizzas. Complement your meal with a bottle from the adequate wine list or the decent range of beers. With both food and drinks, Luigi's just about covers everyone's taste sensibilities. Opens at 4 p.m. Mondays-Saturdays, opens at 3 p.m. Sundays.
Mama Rosa 15134 Mack Ave., Grosse Pointe Park; 313-822-3046; $$: Depending on your source, you may hear Mama Rosa dubbed "the best pizza in the Grosse Pointes." Expect a host of unusual topping choices, crunchy-bottomed pies, other Italian dishes and even beer.
Motor City Brewing Works 470 W. Canfield St., Detroit; 313-832-2700; $$: This brewpub has a quirky tiled interior, with its concrete bar, its Wednesday-night art shows, and its sturdy menu of pizzas and small plates. For less than $10, you can get a pizza made with ingredients from as local as possible. The beers are excellent. Watch out for the high alcohol content of that Summer Brew, if there's any left. Meads like Blue Sunshine have a sharp, almost astringent crispness to them. And those Wednesday night art shows are a tightwad's dream, offering work from experimental, established and ex nihil artists, often hanging work that goes for as little as $15. Have a pizza, drain a craft brew or two, and invest in a work of art for a little more.
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