Upper crusts 1
Pizza is a bona fide American classic. This week and next we'll give you some prime places to slice into.
Published: October 24, 2012
$=$5-$10; $$=$10-$25; $$$=$25-$50; $$$$=$50+
Antica Pizzeria Fellini 415 S. Washington Ave., Royal Oak; 248-547-2751; $$: Other pizzerias in town feature Neapolitan-style pizzas and wood-burning ovens, Fellini claims to be the only one recognized by the Associazione Verarace Pizza Napoletana, and Fellini's oven is imported from Europe and designed to cook items quickly at temperatures around 900 degrees. Striving for excellence, Fellini uses fresh mozzarella, San Marzano tomatoes, and Caputo 00 flour, an Italian variety with a lower-than-standard protein count and silkier, less absorptive texture. The commitment to quality shows in the heftier pricing: Each pizza is just larger than a dinner plate and ranges from $9 to $17.50. Among the best pizzas is the Fiocco ($15), a rich pie slathered in cream, mozzarella, and Romano cheese and dotted with ham and potato crocchè, crumbly fritter-like assemblages. The resulting slice is dense but exceedingly flavorful — and unique in the area.
Amar Pizza 11608 Conant St., Hamtramck; 313-366-0980; amarpizza.biz $: 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; 1160 Grant St., Birmingham; 248-723-2900; amicispizza.com; $$: Pizza crust made with bran, biodegradable dishes and soy candles, no smoking, no TV, even a couple of organic vodkas — Amici's manages both to be virtuous and to pull it off without a hint of self-righteousness. It is a bar, after all, and it's hard to say whether patrons are more interested in the vegan pizzas or the 64 cocktails, 35 beers and 5 premium tequilas on offer. They can combine the two impulses by ordering Red Bridge beer, gluten-free. What's more, they have a back patio that hits the summertime spot.
Barb's Pasties & Pizza 610 S. Main St., Clawson; 248-435-5250; barbspasties.com; $: Heck, here's an interesting one: Not only can you get pizza, but you can also indulge in that U.P. delicacy, the pasty, made hot and fresh every day. (Think of it as a Yooper calzone.) As for the pizza, it's less than $6 for a personal six-piece, and $21 for a super-large five-item pie.
Benito's Pizza 19 locations in metro Detroit, see benitospizza.com: Specialty pizzas include Hawaiian (bacon, ham, pineapple and double cheese), vegetarian (mushrooms, onion, green pepper, tomatoes and green olives), and get as ambitious as the "Big Meal" (pepperoni, ham, onions, mushrooms, green peppers, ground beef, Italian sausage, green olives and, natch, extra cheese). They all cost the same, $17.40 for a large, $20.40 for a deep dish. And with more than a dozen locations over the sprawl-plex, you're probably within a mile of one right now.
Brooklyn Pizza 111 Henrietta, Birmingham; 248-258-6690; 3141 Crooks Rd., Troy; 248-643-4512; brooklynpizzaonline.com; $$: 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; brownjug-annarbor.com; $$: This place is a student fave, serving breakfast all day long. And there's much more than "Uncle Pat's" pizza here, including everything from vegetarian fajitas to a 12-bone slab of ribs, but the pizzas aren't just an afterthought. They come in "thin and crispy," deep-dish and hand-tossed renditions, or as a calzone. They do have plenty of toppings to choose from, including fresh tomatoes, scallions, pepper jack cheese, lettuce and jalapeño peppers.
Buddy's Restaurant & Pizzeria 17125 Conant St., Detroit; 313-892-9001; 22148 Michigan Ave., Dearborn, 313-562-5900; see buddyspizza.com for seven other locations, including Farmington Hills, Warren and Livonia; $$: 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!
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