Detroit – Detroit has its icons--and no, we're not talking Joe Louis -- we're talking Vernors, Better Made chips, and of course, Buddy's distinct square pizza. But how did Detroit get its famous pizza style? Well it all started at the corner of 6 mile and Conant in Detroit at a place called Buddy's Rendezvous.
"Buddy's was named after a group of fellows that came together, played bocce ball, and they would rendezvous here. It was the local neighborhood hang out," explains Buddy's Operations Manager Larry Simone.
In 1946, Gus Guerra developed the dish that would make buddy's famous- the square deep dish pizza. He was approached by a man who had a lot of square pans that were used in the factories during the WWII, and later in the auto industry as oil drip pans and pans to collect nuts and bolts. Since there was no longer a need for them, Gus Guerra decided he would make pizza in them.
While the square shape is the defining feature of the Detroit style pizza, Buddy's stands out by building their pizza differently as well. It starts with the dough pressed into the square tin, then comes the meat, followed by the cheese and the sauce is drizzled over the top. This causes the pepperonis not to char and get as spicy, though they do have old world pepperonis that cup up in the oven if that is more your style. Over the years they developed different styles of crust as well including a thin crust, a multigrain crust, and a gluten free option as well. Everything here is made fresh and they sell more than just pizza; they have pastas, sandwiches, chicken tenders and salads that are also famous.
They claim a large part of their success was their loyal customers and the Detroit community. They have a pizza called the Detroiter, in honor of their fans, and they also give back to local organizations like the DIA, Motown Museum and the Alliance for the Great Lakes with proceeds from their signature pizzas which share their name with these organizations.
"Buddy's is one of the icons in Detroit. If you go to Philly you get a Philly cheese steak. If you come to Detroit, definitely get a Buddy's pizza," says Simone.
Buddy's has several locations throughout the metro Detroit area. Please visit their website for locations and hours.