The pandemic gives rise to new pizza styles

Amal Ali, Contributing Writer

Detroit-style pizza is having a big moment in the Dallas-Fort Worth area since the beginning of the pandemic. Amid all this chaos, pizza experts, known as pizzaiolo, have creatively used this opportunity to deliver some truly amazing meals, taking risks and experimenting with something new.

 Jay Jerrier, owner of Cane Rosso, said he saw pizza as a potential way to create opportunities for bakers and entrepreneurs to put their artistic touch on classic food.

He said he is most excited for the bar pie or tavern pie. Jerrier said, “Mission Pies is a pop up that has done a really nice job with this style here in D-FW.” Jerrier said he understands taking the time to research and understand the recipes and technique can take a pizza business far. Detroit-style pizza originates from Sicilian-style pizza. According to Pure Michigan, the official travel and tourism website for the state of Michigan, the characteristics of Detroit-style pizza are credited to the pans in which the pizzas are baked. The original Detroit-style pizza was made in steel pans.

Detroit-style pizza is winning the hearts of many people because it is the comfort food everyone is looking for, especially in the middle of a pandemic. 

Aside from it being a comfort food, Detroit-style pizza can be a different experience depending on the restaurant. Dallas has many places now that cater to those who want to try Detroit-style pizzas. These new ghost kitchens, such as Rock City Za, Big D Pizza, 8 Mile Pies and Motor City Pizza, have been selling out of their Detroit-style pizzas. Ghost kitchens are a commercial cooking space that has no dine in option. 

Another Detroit-style pizza concept making rounds in Dallas is Thunderbird Pies, a new venture from the creators behind pizzerias Cane Rosso and Zoli’s NY Pizza. Jerrier said the great thing about quarantine is it gave them time to experiment with a style of pizza they knew and loved from some of their favorite pizza places, but there weren’t any places that offered those options in Dallas.

Peter Colombo, owner of Big D Pizza and Alfonso’s Italian Restaurant, is a Detroiter who knows all about Detroit pizza. Colombo worked on polishing the Detroit style pizza for over two years and opened Big D as a ghost kitchen Detroit style pizza for his loyal customers. 

Detroit-style pizza was on the menu at Alfonso’s, but Colombo said he didn’t want Alfonso’s to be overshadowed with Detroit-style pizza. When he saw Detroit-style pizza becoming more popular, Colombo decided to create a restaurant honoring Detroit-style pizza.

Colombo spoke to CultureMap Dallas about the true nature of how Detroit-style pizza is made. Colombo said Detroit-style pizza is a delicacy because of brick cheese, that caramelizes around the edges to give it the crispy, buttery edge on the crust, which is what Detroit-style pizza is known for.

8 Mile Pies started with a cult following and sells out of its pizza with the help of Instagram. The idea of 8 Mile came from Christopher “Phanzy” Phan’s home kitchen. According to the Dallas Observer, Phan started out selling the pizzas to just his friends and family.

8 Mile is recognizable in Detroit culture. The name comes from the 2002 film starring rapper Eminem and the famous street that divides Detroit – Eight Mile Road. Phan said he wanted to have a name that people knew and something that said Detroit. 

 Anna Swann, founder of modern Filipino restaurant Ulam, posted about 8 Mile Pies Instagram which helped spread the word more. Swann knows Phan personally and admires him and anyone else who’s willing to take a risk of starting any sort of business. 

She said he pivoted from his original pop-up concept General Tseaux’s in the best way possible. Swann said she knows from experience it is not easy to open a business, but if it’s worth it then follow that dream. Swann said to remember to share with followers, friends and families about businesses that need support.