Detroit-style pizza is a descendent of Sicilian-style pizza. The original Detroit pizza was created by Gus who owned what was then a neighborhood bar, Buddy’s Rendezvous. He enlisted the help of his wife, Anna, who borrowed a dough recipe from her Sicilian mother. The Sicilian dough, topped with cheese and tomato sauce, would become the model for pizza in Detroit.
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.