From Cheech and Chong to ghost peppers 

Detroit’s specialty pizzas

We've caught you up with the ultimate Detroit square family tree, and there's no disputing the Sicilian-style pie's reach in the city and beyond. But that shouldn't serve to discount the many specialty pizzerias that are making waves throughout metro Detroit. Here are some of the Motor City's most creative takes on the pizza pie.

Strada

Relatively new to the pizza scene, this spot brings a new dining option to downtown Royal Oak, plus an eye-catching interior design and live music. With a decent, doughy crust, fresh ingredients, and a super-chill ambiance, you just might make this your neighborhood place. Fans highly recommend the diavolo (with arrabbiata sauce, spicy salami, copa, pepperoni, and pepperoncini) and traditional margherita pizza. Also, there's the unique dessert Bantella Pizza, smothered in Nutella, banana, strawberries, chocolate chips, pistachios, and powdered sugar.

376 N. Main St., Royal Oak; 248-607-3127; stradaroyaloak.com; 4 p.m.-2 a.m. Wednesday-Saturday, 11 a.m.-midnight Sunday, closed Monday-Tuesday.

Motor City Brewing Works

Pizza and beer. There's really no other food and drink combo that perfectly stacks carb upon savory carb. That's what we're finding in an increasing number of brewpubs across town. Throw in a pizza oven and you're set. Trends aside, Motor City Brewing Works has been doing it, and doing it right for some time now. The thin brick oven pizzas come as simple as you like, with the margherita with herb tomato sauce, mozzarella, and basil, to more intriguing, with pies like the Roasted Pear and Fig, with Gorgonzola, oven roasted pears and figs, red onions, and spices. Pair one with one of the brewery's drafts, such as the ubiquitous Ghettoblaster.

470 W. Canfield St., Detroit; 313-832-2700; motorcitybeer.com; 11 a.m.-midnight Monday-Thursday; 11 a.m.-1 a.m. Friday-Saturday, noon-midnight Sunday.

Crispelli's

For that classic Italian-inspired bakery feel, you've got Crispelli's, which has mastered the traditional, thin crust, Boot style, and the Detroit square. Go for a basic with tomato sauce and mozzarella, or venture for a variety of rustic Italian interpretations, like the Red Pie, with Italian sausage and caramelized onions, or the shrimp and chorizo, with cilantro pesto, roasted red peppers, and fontina. Popular both as a dine-in and take-out option.

28939 Woodward Ave., Berkley; 248-591-3300; 6690 Orchard Lake Rd., West Bloomfield; 248-254-4760; 645 E. Big Beaver Rd., Troy; 248-254-4094; crispellis.com; 11 a.m.-10 p.m. Monday-Thursday, 11 a.m.-11 p.m. Friday-Saturday, 11 a.m.-9 p.m. Sunday.

Hippies

Because the munchies could hit at any time, there's Hippie's Pizza, and you can indulge as late as 3 a.m., Thursday-Saturday, and until 2 a.m. during weekdays. Not bad, considering late night food options can be scarce. What also sets this spot apart is its expansive pizza menu. From the vegan-friendly Marley (with Hippie's sauce, mozzarella, toasted hemp seeds, vegetarian sausage, pineapples, onion, and green peppers); to the extreme Cheech and Chong (with taco sauce, cheddar, chicken, steak, tomato, onion, black olive, jalapeno upon request, and a side of sour cream or ranch) — the options are every stoner's dream. Plus, pick from an array of crust styles and flavors.

121 E. 13 Mile Road, Royal Oak; 248-733-1111; hippiespizza.com; 11 a.m.-2 a.m. Monday-Wednesday, 11 a.m.-3 a.m. Thursday-Friday; 1 p.m.-3 a.m. Saturday, 1 p.m.-2 a.m. Sunday.

Bigalora Wood Fired Cucina

The Napoletana-style pies churned out here are the star of the menu. What makes them special is the 72-hour fermentation process involved in making the pizza dough. Then they're topped with sustainably produced ingredients, and tossed into a custom-built wood-burning oven at 900 degrees for 90 seconds. Choose from a variety of red pizzas (like the duck prosciutto, Bacco sausage, or Salame Finocchiona) or white (crispy Brussels sprouts, funghi, or Manilla clams).

See bigalora.com for multiple locations.

St. CeCe's Pub

This Corktown bar has a made a name for itself with its elevated pub vibe, with craft cocktails and food options that are a step above. The pizza here is no exception. Made with fresh dough, house-made sausage, roasted bell peppers, onions, Gorgonzola, and a balsamic glaze, it rounds out an already impressive menu.

1426 Bagley Ave., Detroit; 313-962-2121; stceces.com; 4 p.m.-midnight Monday-Wednesday, 4 p.m.-2 a.m. Thursday-Friday, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. (brunch), 5 p.m.-10 p.m. Saturday-Sunday.

Supino Pizzeria

If you go to Eastern Market, chances are good that you'll wind up at Supino. It's the marvelous thin crust, the imaginative ingredients, and creative daily specialty pizzas that we can't get enough of. If you go during peak hours, we recommend calling in ahead. You'll probably wait either way, but that'll cut a few minutes off your wait. Anything you can do to get one of those stealthy slices in your belly ASAP. We're partial to the Quattro Formaggio (with mozzarella, smoked Gouda, chevre, feta, and chopped parsley), because, well ... cheese.

2457 Russell St., Detroit; 313-567-7879; supinopizzeria.com; 11 a.m.-10 p.m. Tuesday-Saturday, closed Sunday-Monday.

PizzaPapalis

There are some rare birds around here who can't resist a Chicago deep dish. Don't ask why, it may very well be a clinical condition that can only be remedied by filling a buttery, hard shell of a crust with ladles full of sauce and cheese. If you suffer from this ailment and you can't trek it west on I-94, hit up PizzaPapalis in Greektown (or its six other locations in metro Detroit and Toledo). For those of you who recoil at the sight of a Chicago pizza, there's also a thin crust and pan style from which to choose.

See pizzapapalis.com for multiple locations.

Amar Pizza

It's inevitable that when two culinary traditions collide, something wonderful will result. That's the case with Amar Pizza, which sits on the border of Detroit's Banglatown neighborhood and Hamtramck. What you'll find here is a mix of that delicious square crust, paired with a decidedly Bangladeshi twist. Everything's served in the Halal tradition, meaning the animal used in the food was slaughtered by a Muslim, who precedes the slaughter by invoking the name of Allah. Plus, there's plenty of that special Indo-Asian spice to make your square the very definition of fusion cuisine. Might we suggest the Tandoori, the spice, or for the more daring, the dry fish or ghost pizza with fiery ghost peppers.

1160 Conant St., Detroit/Hamtramck border; 313-366-0980; amarpizza.com; noon-11 p.m. Sunday-Thurday, noon-midnight Friday-Saturday.


More by Serena Maria Daniels

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