The Absolute Best Pizza In Detroit, Ranked

Only a few years ago, few outside of Michigan knew the magic that is Detroit-style pizza. The pizza, which takes advantage of a unique pan, wall-to-wall toppings, sauce on top, and some of the crunchiest crust on the planet, has surged in popularity, and now Detroit-style pizza can be found around the country.

Detroit isn't just about its namesake pizza though. The city excels in all kinds of styles, crusts, and toppings. While it is often overshadowed by its Big Apple and Windy City brethren, that is more than alright for pizza restaurants in Detroit. Few cities in the country can thrive in the shadows like Motown, which is exactly why so many visitors are completely blown away by the incredible selection of pizzas in the city. But when heading to the Motor City, which spots reign supreme for locals and pizza lovers alike? Whether you're from the D or you're simply visiting for the next North American Auto Show, here are several of the true kinds of pizza that you absolutely owe yourself to check out.

14. The Detroit Pizza Bar

Sure, you could go with the tried and true classics at The Detroit Pizza Bar. And yes, you would be absolutely happy with your order. But then again you'd also be leaving lobster, crabmeat, and other top-tier ingredients off your slice of pizza. In other words, maybe you should order two pizzas, just to be safe. There are well over a dozen specialty pizzas on the menu at The Detroit Pizza Bar, ranging from The Temptations, which is a cheese and meat lovers dream, all the way to The Prairie, which is loaded with broccoli, cauliflower, mushrooms, carrots, and other goodies perfect for veggie enthusiasts.

We're also going to give a tip of the cap to The Detroit Pizza Bar because it uses a profit-sharing method, which is distributed back to its staff. So the money you spend isn't going into the owner's pockets — it's going to the workers.

13. Bigalora Cucina

More of a fan of Neapolitan pizzas? Perhaps you like that crust that isn't a perfect circle, or you like an assortment of toppings not typically found at a traditional pizza joint? If so, Bigalora Cucina is the place for you. Neapolitan pizzas have seen an uptick in popularity, as these have a more rustic look. Every pizza here is its own entity, unlike other pizza restaurants where everything looks like a carbon copy. And when the head chef is named Luciano DelSignore, you know you're going to get some solid pizza. Even the pizza above features ingredients like collard greens and capicola.

At Bigalora Cucina, the pizza crust is made from a sourdough starter, which does help give the crust an airy, spongy consistency. This is perfect for absorbing additional flavors such as dripping marinara sauces, melting cheeses, and the oils weeping off of sizzling meats. In addition to having a brick-and-mortar location, if you're around Detroit you might catch sight of the Bigalora Wood Fired Pizza Truck around town as well.

12. Amar Pizza

This pizza restaurant is tucked into Hamtramck. If you're not from Michigan, it's interesting to point out that the city of Hamtramck is square in the middle and completely surrounded by Detroit. It's a city within a city. This particular restaurant makes your standard Detroit pizza, but it features Bangladeshi ingredients, which helps the restaurant stand apart. Here, you can try a pizza loaded with chicken naga. You can even go to spice heaven (or hell, depending on your taste buds) with ghost peppers added on top.

It is because of all the ingredient experimenting that Amar Pizza has received a good amount of external interest from food personalities. Andrew Zimmern of "Bizzare Foods" visited Amar Pizza and fell in love with the dry fish pizza. While you don't need to go the Zimmern route, there are plenty of unique toppings offered at Amar you simply won't find at most other pizza restaurants in the city or around the country. In a city as culturally diverse as Detroit, it only makes sense to have a diverse offering of pizza as well. 

11. Palazzo Di Pizza

Palazzo Di Pizza is another delicious option when you're craving Detroit-style pizza. The original founder of the pizza joint, the late Shawn Randazzo, was also the creator of the Detroit Style Pizza Company. He also won World Champion Pizza Maker of the Year back in 2012.

One thing we love about this joint is a large pizza is actually two smaller pies pushed together. Why is this a big deal? It means you get more of that glorious crispy crust edge on every slice. You will find a number of specialty pizzas for sale at Palazzo Di Pizza, each of which brings something different to the table. There's the chicken Pesto Pizza and the Sweet & Spicy BBQ Chicken Pizza, and you'll also find favorites such as the Eggplant Parmigiana Pizza, the Maui Pizza, and the Buffalo Chicken Pizza. Add all the additional salads, breadstick options, and other menu offerings, and you'll never leave Palazzo Di Pizza hungry.

10. Green Lantern Pizza

The decor alone is enough to put this pizzeria on the list. Green Lantern Pizza has been open for nearly 70 years, and there's something about the overstuffed green booths and speakeasy vibe that somehow elevate the taste of this fine establishment. It's also fantastic if you can't decide what kind of pizza you want, in that the joint serves three different styles of pizza. The only downer is that Green Lantern Pizza serves its Detroit-style pizza with the sauce under the cheese. Everything still tastes good though, so we'll let it slide.

The restaurant itself has a fun history behind it. It was originally an old farmhouse that featured green lanterns, which dated back to prohibition. Supposedly, when the green lanterns were lit, it meant alcohol could be purchased from within the farmhouse. While there are no secret signs when you can buy alcohol from the pizza restaurant (outside of the "open" sign), the restaurant is full of fun history and fun foods to eat.

9. Motor City Brewing Works

Is there a better combination than pizza and beer? It's okay, we'll wait (okay, so we're still waiting for a combo box set of Franzia boxed wine and Cheeze-Its, but that's more of an obnoxious pipe dream than any present reality). At Motor City Brewing Works, you'll find Detroit-style pizza, as well as other pizza styles made inside the restaurant's brick oven. We're also fans of the rooftop patio, although seating is limited there, so only a handful of lucky pizza and beer lovers are able to enjoy that spot at a time.

Motor City Brewing Works as a brewery has its own major accolades. It first started brewing beer back in 1994, and while most of the attention in Michigan is paid to breweries on the Western side of the state, Motor City Brewing Works continues to pump out quality beer, right alongside some truly exceptional pizza.

The beers for sale within the neighborhood taprooms do rotate, but thankfully your favorite pizza is always available. There are currently two locations of Motor City Brewing Works where you can enjoy both the brews and the pizza. The Midtown location is where you'll find the exceptional outdoor patio area, while the newest location is on Livernois Avenue in Detroit's Avenue of Fashion. In either location, you'll leave satisfied with your beer and pizza selection.

8. Tomatoes Apizza

As we established, not every spot is going to be whipping up the legendary Detroit-style pizza. Some will go for a thinner crust. And in the case of Tomatoes Apizza, the pizzeria focuses more on a New Haven style of 'za, which is code for a lighter, "healthier" pizza. You're going to find toppings such as spinach and basil. Because let's face it, sometimes you want some of that buttery thick Detroit pizza where you can taste the oil from the cheese in the crust, and other times you'll want something lighter. When you want lighter, go to Tomatoes Apizza.

Tomatoes Apizza first sprouted up in metro Detroit back in 1998, when its original location launched in the suburb of Farmington Hills. Mike Weinstein, the owner of Tomatoes Apizza, is a Culinary Institute of America graduate and went to craft the first coal-fired pizza in the state, which has helped lead to the pizzeria's unique flavor profile. The restaurant, which now has several satellite locations around metro Detroit, has received all kinds of accolades, including GQ Magazine naming it one of America's 25 best pizzas.

7. Como's Restaurant

Yes, you can grab the Detroit square pizza, but at Como's Restaurant, you're going to discover this pizza brings some unique taste variations other spots simply don't offer. For example, the restaurant uses a sourdough starter that ferments a full three days before being turned into crust. This helps the crust fully absorb the oils and delicious flavors that melt from the cheese into the crust.

It's probably a good idea here to mention why we love Detroit-style pizza so much. The cheese goes on top of the crust, without a buffer layer of sauce. Why is that a big deal? Because the crust can then absorb all the flavor goodness given off by the cheese. In other pizzas, that oil ends up pooling up to the surface, with nowhere to go except dripping onto those pants you just bought for date night. Combine this with Como's sourdough pizza crust and you have something truly special and, of course, delicious.

6. Sicily's Pizzeria & Subs

Some of the pizzas at Sicily's Pizzeria & Subs are truly out of this world and bursting with flavor. How many spots are you going to find pizzas served with spicy hot chicken and ranch? It's the kind of pizza you want on those days you and your buddies can't decide between chicken wings and pizza. The joint also serves up food for its local community. As metro Detroit has the largest Middle Eastern population in the country, Sicily's Pizzeria & Subs wants to make sure everyone can eat their food, which is why they offer halal options as well.

This is another pizza place in Detroit that does offer sourdough crust. This isn't the traditional ingredient used in Detroit-style pizza, but it does lend itself to the thicker style, which is why you will find so many pizzerias utilizing this kind of crust. Sicily's Pizzeria & Subs has been open since 1989 and they pride themselves on not using any sugar, commercial yeast, or vegetable oil.

5. Loui's Pizza

Many of the pizza joints around metro Detroit that specialize in authentic Detroit-style pizza have a direct connection with the original Buddy's, the place where the style was born. Workers at Buddy's began to expand outward, which also helped spread the style of Detroit pizza throughout the city. Loui's Pizza just happens to be one of the better off-shoots of the legendary pizza establishment.

Loui's Pizza is a straight-to-the-point, no-thrills kind of joint. You go because you want some quality pizza. The restaurant has the kind of dive-bar vibe that instantly makes you feel right at home. There are few other places that can compete with its overloaded Detroit-style pizzas, which is exactly why it found itself on this list. There are no two ways about it — you're going to find some of the best Detroit-style pizza at Loui's. So when you want that crispy crust, sauce on top, and that unique Wisconsin brick cheese taste, this is absolutely one of the spots to go to.

4. Grandma Bob's Pizza

With a name like Grandma Bob's Pizza, how could you not like this place? It's a spot that blends Detroit-style pizza with new-age flavor ideas. You're going to get that rectangular pizza, but you can also top it off with feta dressing, pistachios (yup, the nut), and even gyro meat. After all, Greek Town isn't all that far from this Corktown pizzeria, so it only makes sense to take advantage of some of the Greek flavors found in the city.

One thing we love about the pizzas at Grandma Bob's is that there's just a little dousing of extra cheese on top of it all. The pizzas are made in the classic Detroit style, with the cheese under the sauce, but there is just a little dusting of Parmesan over the top of it all. That subtle hint of salty cheese atop the sauce might not sound like much, but it is a wonderful accent in flavor. It's the proverbial cherry on top. And with some shredded basil on top, Grandma Bob's Pizza is some of the most photogenic Detroit-style pizza you're going to find.

3. Buddy's Pizza

No list of the best pizza in Detroit can be complete without Buddy's Pizza. If you ever find a list that doesn't include this iconic restaurant, you need to set it on fire and run as fast and as far away from that list as humanly possible. That's because Buddy's Pizza is Detroit-style pizza. It created the legend. Back in 1946, the birth of the style came right out of Buddy's pizza oven. The entire Detroit-style pizza movement can trace itself back to Buddy's. Can you imagine a world without such a pizza? Would you even want to?

Yes, there are now franchise opportunities to expand Buddy's out to other areas around the country, but there's nothing like the true original. Every bite at Buddy's is a bite into history. Naturally, if you're going to stop by any Buddy's, we highly recommend visiting the original location. Always nice to discover where a new culinary style was born — although if you can't, we certainly won't hold going to one of the satellite locations against you.

2. Cloverleaf Bar & Restaurant

Do you enjoy sliding into an overstuffed bench, the overhead lighting dimmed so you can see the guests across from you at the table, but keeps the rest of the restaurant hidden in shadow? If so, Cloverleaf Bar & Restaurant has the vibe you're going for. The restaurant also has the pizza you're looking for as well. The Eastpointe establishment is just north of Detroit city proper. Guss Guerra along with his wife Anna began selling the squared-off pizza made by Anna's mother back in 1946. They just happened to be doing it at their original pizza restaurant, Buddy's — yes, that Buddy's. Eventually, the couple sold Buddy's in 1953 (as well as the recipe).

Gus and Anna went on to open Cloverleaf Bar & Restaurant. While they no longer had the original Detroit-style pizza recipe, they were still the original creators, and as such were able to craft new variations of the pizza. If you are looking for a Detroit pizza and can have only one, you will need to decide whether you go to the original restaurant with the original recipe or go to the restaurant passed down from the originators to their children. It can be a difficult decision, but thankfully you really don't need to choose (and we highly recommend you try out both pizzas while you're in town).

1. Shield's Pizza

When you've been serving up pizza since 1937, you're obviously doing something right. This, of course, predates the creation of the Detroit-style pizza. Shield's Pizza doesn't only serve pizza though. You'll find an impressive menu offering burgers, salads, soups, and other goodies. So whether you feel like grabbing the original Shield's Super pizza, or you'd like to grab a burger, you'll find it all on the menu. There's even an Express Lunch menu so you don't have to wait for your pizza, soup, and soup if you stop by between 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. throughout the work week.

Pizza is the main attraction here, though, and it's worth the wait. If you've ever been to a real old-school pizza restaurant, there's something about all the old pans still used today. It's as if the flavors of pizzas over the past 85 years are infused into every new pizza made. Shield's Pizza does utilize Wisconsin Brick cheese, which is the customary cheese for classic Detroit-style pizzas. The pizza is fantastic, and we also love everything else about this old-school destination.