The Savory Origins Of Detroit's Slept-On Square Pizza Slice

Every once in a while, a new food comes around that makes an immediate impact on the culinary world. One such grub is Detroit-style pizza, which, unlike most American pies, is rectangular in shape rather than circular. The history of Detroit-style pizza can be traced back to the '40s, when the Michigan metropolis was booming with the auto industry, and many families were moving to the city to find work. With the influx of workers and their families came a high demand for food, and pizza became a convenient, affordable option. The first Detroit-style pizza was whipped up in 1946 by husband-wife duo Gus and Anna Guerra at Buddy's Rendezvous, a bar that served square pizza with a thick, airy, crispy crust. It was originally known as "Detroit Red Top" since the cheese is above the sauce, giving it a red appearance.

The Sicilian-inspired pizza became an instant hit, especially among the auto workers, who would pick up a couple of slices on their way home from work. Over the years, more pizzerias opened up across town, and the pizza started to gain traction outside of Detroit. In 2012, the pizza was officially recognized as the "World's Best Pizza" at the annual World Pizza Expo.

Detroit-style pizza is as iconic as it is delicious

One of the signature features that makes Detroit-style pizza so good is its thick, chewy crust that's perfectly charred, both underneath and on the edges. The dough is made from a standard combination of flour, water, yeast, and salt, and then allowed to rise for at least a couple hours. The dough is then placed in an oiled, steel, rectangular pan, resulting in a caramelized exterior. Detroit-style pizza sauce is a traditional, simple tomato sauce with various herbs and spices mixed in to give it a pop of zesty flavor. A generous layer of Wisconsin brick cheese is sprinkled atop the sauce, and last but not least, any and all desired toppings are added. However, if you order a Detroit-style pizza with classic meats like pepperoni or sausage, you may not see them immediately — instead, you'll taste them nestled between the cheese and sauce.

Today, Detroit-style pizza is served all over the United States and has even made its way to other countries. Since its founding, numerous renowned pizzerias and chains, including Jet's, Pizza Hut, Loui's, Backlot Pizza + Kitchen, and Palazzo Di Pizza have put their own spin on the legendary pie, but the basic recipe remains the same: four-sided buttery crust piled high with cheesy, saucy goodness. The best part of this beloved indulgence that sets it apart from other regional pizzas like Chicago tavern-style? Every piece is an end piece.