Stephen Mack Jones, author of the August Snow series, shares his favorite things about Detroit. In this eight part series, Jones talks classic cocktails, historic buildings, Joe Louis and everything in between.
I Got Your Pizza RIGHT HERE, Pal!
It’s about to get tenth-round bloody up in here. Why? Pizza, that’s why. And, no, I’m not talking about those high-cuisine tarragon-and-fennel, misshapen flat crust imposters with splotches of buffalo mozzarella, organic baby spinach, and watercress stems resting on the thinnest veneer of red-wine tomato sauce. Nor am I talking about those production-line thirty-minute pies that taste like the cardboard box that’s just been delivered to you by some skunky weed-stinking kid driving an eighteen-year-old Ford POS. No, I’m talking about pizzas that legends are born of and city reputations are built on. Pizzas that transcend their seemingly simple food category, appealing to both blue-collar big-bite taste sensibilities as well as the discretionary palettes of white-collar curators of aroma, spice notes, and textures.
There was a time when the only American pie legends were the New York Slice and the Chicago Deep Dish. But the Floppy Slice and the Multi-Tiered Pie are remnants of a bygone era, like bell-bottom polyester leisure suits and the Ford Pinto. The New York Slice was often as big as the pair of coveralls you needed to protect yourself from the sluice of industrial-grade pepperoni grease. And Chicago pies eventually became high-rise architecture, and frankly nobody wanted a project that big only to suffer three days’ post-dining bloat, constipation, and poorly timed flatulence.
Now days, all culinary eyes are on Detroit for gastronomically superior pizza. Yes, Detroit. Namely Buddy’s Pizza, which has been serving mesmerizingly aromatic and incomparable pizza deliciousness since 1946. I’m sure wherever you are right now, you’re probably saying, “Yeah, but (insert profanity)! We’ve got So-And-So’s pizza here—and it’s the best!” Well, friend, I hate to be the one to break it to you, but you’re probably wrong. In fact, you couldn’t be more wrong if you wore a leopard-print Speedo swimsuit with sandals and black tube socks to a public beach. You’ve been duped into settling for less than the best. The Daily Meal said this of Buddy’s Pizza in 2019, “Detroit’s signature square pizza style is like a Sicilian slice on steroids.” And Big Seven Travel said, “They place Sicilian Style pepperoni underneath their famous Wisconsin brick cheese for a fantastic flavour punch.” And First We Eat said, “For the uninitiated, imagine a Sicilian slice whose components have been multiplied by themselves to achieve an amplified version of their essence.” Yeah. Whatever the hell that means.
So, sure—now you wanna fight me for having insulted your favorite Buddy’s wannabe pizza. And I’m fine with that. But before we start throwing fists, can we at least first split an eight-square Buddy’s Detroiter pizza? I’ll even pop for a pitcher of Bell’s Two Hearted IPA beer (www.bellsbeer.com) or a couple of amber-glistening glasses of Two James Spirits J. Riddle Peated Bourbon (https://twojames.com).
What do ya say, pal?
Aside from Mexican and soul food, Buddy’s Pizza has long been a Snow family tradition since August first cut his teeth. If you think I’m being intransigent when it comes to pizza, you really don’t want to argue the point with him. One, because he carries a Glock-17 9mm. And two, because one of his best friends, Dr. Bobby Falconi, is a coroner. Between the two, you could quickly, efficiently and eternally be “disappeared.” And nobody wants that, right? Am I right?