Detroit-style pizza is a descendent of Sicilian-style pizza that has its roots in one man: Gus Guerra. When Guerra decided he needed to add something new to the menu of his neighborhood bar, Buddy's Rendezvous, in 1946, he asked his wife Anna for help. She borrowed a dough recipe from her Sicilian mother, topped it with cheese and tomato sauce, and the rest is history.
If you want to try Detroit-style pizza, you need to go straight to the source. Buddy's Rendezvous was eventually changed to Buddy's Pizza, which you can still visit to grab a slice today. Here's what the state of Michigan says about it on their website:
The key ingredient in a proper Detroit-style pizza isn’t something you eat – it’s the pan. The characteristics of the pizza – the soft and airy square crust, the crunchy exterior, the caramelized cheese that edges the pizza – are all due to the deep pans in which the pizzas are baked. The pans are a thick steel that are more similar to a cast iron skillet than a cake pan. Legend has it that Gus got his initial batch of pans from a friend who worked in a factory that used the pans for spare parts. Detroiters have been fighting for corner slices ever since. We went with the classic Detroiter – cheese, sauce, and pepperoni on top so that it crisps up and chars slightly. The sauce is what sets Buddy’s pizzas apart – the bright tomato sauce and a hint of herbs act as the perfect complement to the salty pepperoni. With the bocce ball courts outside and a bar area lined with pictures of Tigers legends, Buddy’s is a landmark worthy of its reputation.