Ahead of National Pizza Day on Feb. 9, here's a quick primer on the history of Detroit-style pizza and why this pie is growing in popularity.
For all those unfamiliar, Detroit-style pizza is square pie that has a crunchier crust than its New York counterparts.
"Influenced by square Sicilian-style pizza, Detroit-style pizza consistently impresses pizza lovers due to its unique layering structure and stunning presentation," says the website for Buddy's Pizza, the restaurant claiming to have invented Detroit-style pizza.
Unlike a more standard pizza, where sauce is covered by cheese and then any additional toppings are put on top, Detroit-style pizza is the opposite.
Detroit-style pizza has been growing in popularity over the last few years. (AP Images)
"The pepperoni is placed directly on the dough, allowing the rich flavors of the meat to be absorbed into the crust," says Buddy's Pizza.
Instead of a more typical mozzarella, parmesan or a blend of the two, Detroit-style pizza uses Wisconsin brick cheese on top of the pepperoni.
"First crafted in the late 1800s and named for the bricks used to press the curds, brick cheese is derived from white American cheddar, but cultured at a higher temperature to produce more fat content and a different protein structure," the website for the Dairy Farmers of Wisconsin says.
Wisconsin brick cheese has a "somewhat softer taste with a deliciously sharper finish," says the Dairy Farmers of Wisconsin.
Sauce is spread on top in three wide stripes and the pizza is then baked, said Buddy's Pizza.
While this form of pizza may seem unusual, it has become quite popular in the nearly 80 years since it was first created.
Buddy's Pizza claims to have invented "Detroit-style" pizza in the 1940s. (Rebecca Simonov for the Washington Post)
"[It's] probably the crispy, crunchy edges and bottom with the pillowy soft inner dough. It's such a great vehicle to bring the pizza to the people," Jeremy Damaske, owner of Pie Sci Pizza in Detroit, which sells 700 to 1,000 Detroit-style pies weekly, told the website Wealth of Geeks.
"We get a lot of out-of-town folks who come in specifically to have the Detroit-style pizza. I would say the vast majority of reactions are very positive," said Damaske.
While the pizza currently known as "Detroit-style" was invented in the 1940s, the name did not actually come about until 1980s, said Wealth of Geeks.
"First described as such in industry trade magazines during the 1980s, the term became more widespread when a Texas pizza business operated by former Metro Detroiters called its product Detroit-style pizza to stand out," they said.
In 2024, Detroit-style pizza is now found across the country — far beyond its origins in Michigan's largest city.
pepperoni pizza square
Detroit-style pizza is recognizable by its square shape and crispy edges. (Getty Images)
"When people think of pizza, there are many places that come to mind, like Chicago or New York," says Emily Daunt, vice president of Communications and Brand Strategy for the Michigan Restaurant and Lodging Association told Wealth of Geeks.
She continued, "However, with Michigan being home to some of the most nationally famous franchises like Little Caesar's, Dominos, Hungry Howie's and Jet's Pizza and nearly 3,000 other pizza places across that state, that's a pretty big piece of the pie."