I grew up outside of Chicago and in summer visited relatives in New York, both totally pizza-centric cities. So, when I moved to Michigan, my cousins, while acknowledging they’d love to come visit every chance they got, wondered about where we’d get a good pizza—as though I was entering a wasteland of nothing but frozen cardboard-tasting pies. So, who do you think I called when Travel+Leisure named Detroit as the #2 city to get pizza in the nation (in front of Chicago, which came in at #4)?
But Detroit isn’t the only hot spot for great pizza. Throughout the state, there’s a pie for every taste. Here are some of our favorites.
Buddy’s Pizza and Supino Pizzeria, Detroit
Travel & Leisure magazine’s assessment of Detroit’s pizza scene cited Buddy’s, which opened in 1946 and is where, according to general manager Dennis Kot, the square shaped, deep-dish Detroit-style pies originated. To add to my bragging rights, HuffPost listed Supino Pizzeria, where owner Dave Mancini makes every batch of dough in Detroit’s famed Eastern Market, as one of the top 16 pizza shops in the U.S. His thin crusts, more reminiscent of Italian and New York pies, is complexly opposite of Buddy’s.
Ambassador Restaurant, Houghton
The pizza most devoured beneath the former speakeasy’s whimsical, century-old murals of cavorting gnomes is the Tostada (spiced ground beef, white Colby and cheddar cheeses, lettuce and tomatoes topped with hot sauce). Wash it down with a 25-ounce Fish Bowl cocktail.
Fricano Place, Muskegon
The banks thought Ted Fricano was crazy when he wanted to turn a building headed for the demolition ball into a 250-seat pizza place, one of six West Michigan locations in the family chain that dates to 1949. But Fricano’s Muskegon Lake helped begin the revitalization of the city, giving it a trendy urban vibe. Oh, and the uber-thin pies are great as well.
Hops at 84 East, Holland
Dough made by the fifth generation de Boer family bakery and creative takes on toppings—like using the ingredients for a chicken Caesar salad, or spicy ghost salami and banana peppers—and then flash baking in a brick lined oven blazing at 600 degrees, makes for a sublime series of sublime pies.
Jolly Pumpkin Restaurant, Brewery & Distillery, Traverse City
The best-selling White Pizza earns its name from locally made Leelanau Cheese’s Fromage Blanc on beer dough crust. Seasonal toppings such as ramp pesto and grilled asparagus with pickled ramps make these true, farm-to-fork pies.
Riverside Bar & Pizzeria, Iron River
Known for its traditional pies and friendly atmosphere since opening in 1946, the “extra cheese out” pizza, cut into squares, helps Riverside earn superlative ratings such as tops in the Upper Peninsula and the second best in Michigan.
Round Barn Public House, Baroda
A popular stop for Chicagoans who summer here, this is part of the Round Barn Winery, Brewery & Distillery family-owned businesses. Build your own, or, if you want to eat your veggies, opt for the seasonal Farm Stand pie, available when the area’s sweet corn ripens.
This article originally appeared in the 2017 fall/winter issue of Experience Michigan magazine. The contents of this article were checked for accuracy when it was published; however, it’s possible some of the information has changed. We recommend you call first if you have specific questions for the destinations, attractions or restaurants mentioned in this article.
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