OOur shortlist of notable pizza parlors
Published: July 13, 2011
My Cousin's New York Pizzeria 42967 Woodward Ave., Bloomfield Hills; 248-874-9999; $: Doing a mostly carryout business, My Cousin's New York Pizzeria trades on the mystique of New York pizza. Their rendition is round, generally thin (although thick-crusted at the slightly charred edges), moderately greasy and eaten folded lengthwise. The slices, wider than the Detroit norm for round pizzas, are eminently foldable and the crust is thin and delicate until you arrive at the crunchy edge, which is always eaten last. Moreover, the seamlessly blended tomato and cheese are more lightly applied than in comparable Detroit varieties.
Niki's Pizza 734 Beaubien St., Detroit; 313-961-4303; $: Fresh off an extensive remodel, Niki's no longer looks rough around the edges, instead sporting tons of attractive new booths and even a wood-fired pizza oven. Still, even though the ambience is much improved, you'll likely go for that two-slices-for-$4 deal. Better yet, go in with a friend and get a small square pie, ensuring it's hot out of the oven. And try the lamb topping!
Nona's Pizza 19764 Harper Ave., Harper Woods; 313-884-5900; $$: We got your classic neighborhood pizza joint right here, with 30 years on the block. Pies are round or square, with the usual laundry list of toppings, but the prices are nice. Expect to pay $13.25 for an 18-inch square with pepperoni. Open 11-11 Friday-Saturday, 11-10 Sunday-Thursday.
Pasquale's 31555 Woodward Ave., Royal Oak; 248-549-4002; $$: The calorie-bomb here is called "Brown's special," and it's loaded with cheese, pepperoni, bacon, ham, onions, green peppers, green and black olives, and mushrooms, $13 for a small, $16 for a medium and $21 for a large. Right on Woodward in Royal Oak, away from the bustle of Main Street. If you've been in business for 55 years, you must be doing something right.
Pizza Bob's 814 S. State St., Ann Arbor, 734-665-4517, $: It's about $8 for a 10-incher with pepperoni. Kinder still, you can share a 16-incher with same for $6 each. Don't want pepperoni? It'd cost the same for any topping, and they range from ham and meatballs to banana peppers and pineapple. Lunch, dinner, takeout and delivery.
Pizza Paesano 415 S. Washington, Royal Oak; 248-547-2751; $: Open late for Royal Oak hanger-outers, Pizza Paesano isn't just another pizza joint. The pesto pizza is subtly flavored; the crust is thin and crisp and excellent. The gyro is also marvelous, decorated with thin lamb strips and scallions. Besides pizza, the guys serve calzones, a spinach pie and a spicy meat pie (Italian sausage, pepperoni and bacon).
Pizza Papalis Taverna 553 Monroe St., Detroit; 313-961-8020; for more locations see pizzapapalis.com; $$: A regular winner in our Best Of awards, you have to admit that trying Chicago-style pizza in Detroit was a gamble back in the 1980s, but now it's a sure bet. It's pricier than most, but their largest, deepest pies are an excellent medium for delivering meat and cheese to your stomach. You can get the 10-inch at $21 or the 14-inch at $30, but it doesn't get grander than the "meat eater's deluxe," a dough bowl of pepperoni, Italian sausage, Canadian bacon, ground beef and, of course, generous amounts of cheese.
Primo's 996 S. Adams Rd., Birmingham; 248-642-1400; $$: Primo's serves the Detroit-style square and deep pizza, with a crunchy crust and a chewy center. They don't overload it with sauce and spice, preferring to give it just the right amount of tomatoey goodness. And the cheese is cheese, not "cheese food." It stretches from the slice in your hand to the teeth in your mouth just like on TV. Plus they sell it by the (giant) slice for $1.50.
Renshaw Lounge 210 E. 14 Mile Rd., Clawson; 248-616-3016; $$: This joint is like a classic pub, but with all the boozy fellowship of a dive. Local regulars will tell you Renshaw serves the best pizza in town, and one fan tells us their pies "rank up there with Green Lantern, Luigi's and Giorgio's." They also serve a "breadza," which combines the gooey goodness of pizza with the doughy satisfaction of bread sticks. Enjoy it with drink specials and cold beer. Open 10 a.m.-2 a.m. Monday-Saturday, noon-2 a.m. Sundays.
Sam's Pizzeria and Cantina 2215 Wyandotte W., Windsor, 519-258-5086, $, Sam's feels a little more upscale and hip than a pizza palace, but sticks close to its roots. Calzone, focaccia, bruschetta: The crust is the star here, with inventive toppings such as escargot, mushrooms and garlic on the Francese pizza, as well as traditional versions. Finish off with fancy espressos, cappuccinos or a White Russian from the full bar. There's jazz on Thursdays and Saturdays. Breakfast menu from 11 a.m. to afternoon.
Sgt. Pepperoni's Pizzeria & Deli 4120 Woodward Ave., Detroit; 313-833-7272; $: The Majestic empire is expanding with this new pizza restaurant; already it has a following among the young denizens of the area. The Sarge's managers are attempting to do a two-steps-up version of pizza — you can order a specialty sauce like basil pesto or tapenade, and the specialty toppings include roasted chicken, spinach, artichoke hearts, sun-dried tomatoes, eggplant and squash (all served atop a pretty normal fresh red pizza sauce and mozzarella). Pastas and sandwiches are also offered.
Shield's Restaurant Bar Pizzeria 25101 Telegraph, Southfield; 248-356-2720; 1476 W. Maple Rd., Troy; 248-637-3131; and two more locations at shieldspizza.com; $: Another spin-off from the Buddy's breakup in the 1950s, Shield's enjoys an excellent reputation. Their specialty pizzas include the Athenian, Polynesian, "meat lover's," and "BBQ chicken." Better yet, they plan to open one in downtown Detroit on Adams Street.
Stosh's Pizza 24312 Van Dyke Ave., Centerline; 586-757-6836; $$: A co-worker's wife swears by this pizza, and the price is right: A large, two-topping pizza sets you back a measly $10.99.
Supino Pizzeria 2457 Russell St., Detroit, 313-567-7879, $$, Serving brilliant thin-crust pizza with imaginative fresh ingredients — even an egg — with a delectable thin crust that's not too chewy. They serve five red pizzas and six white, meaning no tomato sauce; almost all are made with traditional ingredients, no pineapple, no taco fixings. The red sauce is supremely simple, nothing much besides some fresh-tasting though canned crushed tomatoes. The Primavera, a white, is topped with fresh tomatoes, artichokes, eggplant, red onion, mozzarella and spinach — lots of flavors. Also excellent is the housemade manicotti, a huge portion of ultra-thin pasta stuffed with ricotta and a bit of Parmigiano and topped with red sauce and mozzarella. Supino is making a strong bid for gourmet pizza supremacy, right in our own Eastern Market.
Taste Pizza Bar 1431 Times Square, Detroit; 313-962-8700; $$: Located on the second floor of an old brick building on Times Square, at Grand River Avenue and Bagley Street, Taste may not be the easiest place to find, but once you arrive there'll be no doubt you're in the right place. An added bonus for night owls is its 2 a.m. closing time. Although first-rate 10-inch pies are Taste's raison d'être, chef-owner Dale Daniel offers diners a wide variety of starters, soups, salads and grilled sandwiches. The admirable toppings on the 20-odd pies present combinations that should please picky pizza mavens. Beer is reasonably priced as well at $3-$5 and several of the cocktails come in small ($6-$7) as well as large sizes.
Tomatoes Apizza 24369 Halsted Rd., Farmington Hills; 248-888-4888; $: If you're looking for a thin-crust, fresh-tasting, garlicky, made-with-high-art pizza, Apizza's ranks with the best in the area. The pies emerge from their brief sojourn in the brick oven irregularly shaped and unequally sliced. Avoiding a mass-produced look is always good, and a variety of big and small slices means that you can match your grab to your satiety level. Yes, there's pepperoni, as well as salami, sausage, crab, anchovies and bacon; add-ons are $1 each on a small pie.
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