It’s National Pizza Day!

Today we go into the delicious history of Detroit-style pizza, which got an assist from something else the city is known for.


The name “Detroit-style pizza” took off in the last decade or so, but it goes back to the 1980s, and the recipe is several decades older.

It starts at a place called Buddy’s, which in the 1940s decided to add pizza to the menu.

There are a couple origin stories here.

In one, owner Gus Guerra adapts a pizza recipe from his wife’s mother, who was Sicilian.

In the other, the recipe starts with a Buddy’s employee, Connie Piccinato.

In both stories, the pizza has pepperoni pressed directly into the dough.

Then they add Wisconsin brick cheese and top it with sauce.

And most importantly, the pizza is rectangular.

Guerra wanted a deep dish pizza pan, with high sides.

What he ended up using was a steel utility tray like the ones used on the assembly lines at Detroit’s auto factories.

(For the record, he got a clean one; there wasn’t any leftover car part gunk in the pizza.)

The dough cooked just right in the pan, almost like a focaccia rather than a standard pizza crust.

The creation became a local hit, and Buddy’s renamed itself Buddy’s Pizza.

Some of the people who came to Buddy’s from out of town started bringing elements of that pizza to restaurants in other parts of the country.

While some are more authentic than others, over time Detroit-style pizza has become more and more famous, especially as part of the ongoing effort to show off Detroit’s food, culture and history which have been played down because of the city’s challenges.

There are now even companies that sell Detroit-style pizza pans.

So if you want to make one yourself, you don’t have to try to hit up one of the automakers for a utility tray.


Today I’m making a birthday cake for a special kid in my house.

I will try to cut even cake slices for everybody, but I could probably use help from the students at Kundong High School in Oita Prefecture, Japan.

Their system uses lasers to scan a cake and then tell the server the exact angle to use to cut slices.

It’s got a turntable for the cake and shows the angle to make the cuts.

And it has a perfect name: “Get Along Well With Everyone.”

Equal slices of cake make that a lot easier!

How Detroit’s car industry helped shape its pizzas (Phaidon)

Detroit-Style Pizza Is Having a Moment. But Are Its Originators Getting Left Behind? (Eater)

A device that cuts cake evenly, invented by high school students (The Mainichi)

Join our Patreon backers to make this show possible. Maybe we can all go out for pizza sometime to celebrate. 

Photo by joefoodie via Flickr/Creative Commons