Every True Michiganian Must Know the History Behind National Detroit Pizza Day
Friday (6/23) is National Detroit-Style Pizza Day (You have it on your calendar, right?) and there are some things everyone in Michigan should know as we get ready to indulge.
Is Detroit-Style Pizza Day Really a Thing?
You'll still get mail (albeit mostly junk mail) delivered on Friday and you won't get the day off work, but yes, June 23 is Detroit-Style Pizza Day in Michigan. The proclamation was made last year by Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer as a way of celebrating "the history, style, and the roots of Detroit-Style pizza."
One year prior to that, Buddy's Pizza - the shop credited with being the innovator behind the pies - declared June 23 as National Detroit-Style Pizza Day to commemorate its 75th anniversary.
A dozen years ago, then-Mayor Dave Bing got the ball rolling in Detroit by declaring June 23 as Buddy's Pizza Day, paying homage to the iconic pizza shop for "putting Detroit on the culinary map."
What is Detroit-Style Pizza?
You may have eaten Detroit-Style Pizza without even knowing it. Detroit-style pizza is typically baked in a rectangular pan and has a thick, crisp, chewy crust. It's traditionally topped with cheese and toppings right out to the edges.
But how did it get started?
The Inspiration for Detroit-Style Pizza
The story dates back to 1946 when Gus Guerra owned a neighborhood bar called Buddy's Rendezvous. Guerra wanted to spice up the menu and enlisted the help of his wife Anna. According to Michigan.gov, Anna borrowed a dough recipe from her Sicilian mother. She topped the dough with cheese and tomato sauce, creating the foundation for Detroit Pizza
But as you probably already know, Detroit-style pizza is square or rectangular in shape and has a great deal of crispy-crust real estate. The secret is the pan.
As the legend goes, the pans used to bake the original Detroit-style pizzas came from an automotive factory. Guerra is said to have gotten his first set of pans from a friend who worked in a factory that used the pans to store spare automotive parts. The pans were thick and heavy so they gave the pies a chewy crust with a crispy edge.
Regardless of how exactly Detroit-style pizza originated, this Friday brings a great opportunity to celebrate National Detroit-Style Pizza Day by treating yourself and the family.