Posted by: Kath Usitalo | May 26, 2011

Road Food Report: Detroit Style Pizza, Please

We remembered to take a photo partway through our latest Detroit style pizza at Loui's

I’m afraid we’re in a pizza rut. Or three.

We don’t eat out very often, but we have a trio of favorite places for pizza in the Greater 313 Area.

1. The neighborhood Go To carry-out/delivery joint is Uncle Paul’s on Mack Avenue. Though they toss a variety of pizzas, including a tasty looking square deep dish, we usually stick with “Uncle Paul’s Special” with regular round crust.

2. If I were forced to choose just one restaurant to eat at every day it would be Luigi’s “Original” roadhouse in Harrison Township. Maybe then I’d try something other than the antipasto salad and “Luigi’s Special” pizza with a not-too-thin sesame seed crust and anchovies on the side.

We’ve eaten at Luigi’s dozens of times over the decades, and have never ordered anything other than the salad and pizza. The steaks and Italian specialties get rave reviews, but since we visit so infrequently we want one thing: the pie and antipasto.

Unless you arrive right when the cozy spot opens be prepared to wait for a table. Conveniently, there’s a bar along one wall of the dining room. And for the best atmosphere ask for a table in the main room, where it’s lively and crowded and noisy and the reason this has been a destination since 1953.

3. Now to the pièce de résistance: Detroit style pizza. Loui’s Pizza of Hazel Park, a suburb just north of Detroit, serves it up and is a once-a-year treat for us. It’s the place we head to for an annual family birthday gathering, toting a homemade cake covered in mom’s buttercream icing.

But this year we’ve already chowed down on Loui’s Detroit style pizza on two occasions, and we have no regrets.

Detroit style pizza makers have their loyal fans. During my college years we ate Buddy’s Pizza, or Shield’s.

Then in 1977 Loui’s opened in a working class area not far from Hazel Park Harness Raceway.

Loui’s home is a windowless, non-descript barn of a place on a busy strip lined with other non-descript workhorses of buildings. The large main dining room is usually filled with generations of folks and has the feel of a family reunion at a Fraternal Order of Eagles Hall. The back bar room is smaller and a bit quieter.

The menu includes Italian specialties, none of which we’ve tried. We’re there for the pie.

There’s nothing quite like Loui’s special, chewy, deep-dish crust with just the right crunch and edges with a hint of burntness, topped with the perfect amount of tomato sauce and a load of cheese, and whatever else you choose.

At Loui’s the pepperoni, ham, and other toppings are secondary to the crust and sauce and cheese and accompanying grease (in a good way). Don’t miss the antipasto drenched in the house-secret dressing.

Now you might understand why we generally limit our Loui’s experience to once a year. But there are regulars who have “their” booths and ask for “their” waitresses.

The waitresses are part of Loui’s charm. If they  know it’s not PC to call customers “honey” they don’t care. They may even touch your arm or shoulder as they busy themselves at your table, shuffling dishes to make room for a pitcher of beer or carafe or jug of wine. These gals assume it’s their job, not a chore, to serve up slices of your homemade birthday cake. What a concept.

And after you finish your bottle of Chianti—the kind you see in old movies—they hand you Sharpies so you can write your names and commemorative date on the bottle’s straw covering.

Then, on your next visit to Loui’s—and there will be one—you hunt for your movie-prop bottle strung up with the others from the ceiling of this classic Detroit pizza joint.

Loui's has the feel of a family reunion where everyone gets along; note the Chianti bottles dangling from the ceiling



  1. Dinoto’s is pretty darn good as well. Try the Prosciutto and Arugula pie. The pizzaria at Eastern Market is great. It was voted the #1 pie in Detroit a couple years ago.

    • So I’ve heard. Need to try it. Thanks!

  2. I drive by Loui’s when I go to visit my Dad. It’s been years since I’ve been inside. It used to a be regular summer time stop when my Mom was still alive.

    • So your mom liked Loui’s! Mine too.
      Still would like to return to the old Buddy’s on Conant and McNichols to show the kids our old stomping grounds

  3. […] Loui’s Pizza You may end up sharing a table at the casual Supino Pizzeria Like this:LikeBe the first to like this post. […]

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