Detroit Style Pizza Co. was founded in 2012 by World Champion Pizza Maker Shawn Randazzo. Shawn’s mission is to make sure everyone gets a taste of Detroit Style Pizza. He developed the Authentic Detroit Style Pizza Maker Program to help other pizzerias operate successful businesses by serving authentic Detroit Style Pizza.
Detroit Style Pizza is a collective of pizza makers who regard pizza making as an art form. Members adhere to the strict practices required to make authentic Detroit Style Pizza. When customers see the Authentic Detroit Style Pizza Maker seal, they instantly know they’re getting the real deal.
DetroitStylePizza.com is the world portal to everything Detroit Style Pizza. It serves to educate the public about Detroit Style Pizza, provide a searchable directory of Authentic Detroit Style Pizza Makers, and provide valuable members-only news, pizzeria business advice, and Detroit Style Pizza-making secrets.
So, what makes Detroit Style Pizza so unique?
It’s Square! One of the first things pizza lovers notice is that Detroit-style pizza is square in shape. This is because in true Motor City fashion, authentic Detroit-style pizza is baked in square, blue steel automotive parts pans. Traditionally, deck ovens are used for baking.
It’s Upside-Down! Detroit-style pizza is often referred to as “upside-down pizza” or “red top pizza” because of the way its prepared:
1 – Start with a thick, chewy Sicilian crust
2 – Line the crust with a layer of pepperoni
3 – Mound plenty of cheese on top (traditionally brick and mozzarella)
all the way to the edge
4 – Heap any extra toppings on the cheese
5 – Ladle on a thick layer of signature red sauce that trickles
through the bubbling cheese
Fantastic flavor! One bite of the true, authentic Detroit-style pizza says it all: its like nothing you’ve ever tasted before. The crispy-outside, chewy-inside crust lends a one-of-a-kind, mouthwatering consistency and the flavor is the reason why thousands have demanded Detroit-style pizza nationwide!
An American tradition since 1946
Nineteen forty-six. U.S. troops returned in droves, victorious from World War II. Industrial plants resumed manufacturing automobiles after devoting lines to M5 tanks, jeeps, and B-24 bombers to support America’s war effort. Detroit was classic Americana in an era when laundry was still hung on wooden porch railings, children played stickball on brick-lined streets, and American ingenuity and patriotism were at all-time highs. It was the year Gus Guerra proved that Cadillacs and Fords weren’t the only innovations to roll out of Detroit when, on the corner of Conant and Six Mile, he crafted the world’s first Detroit-style pizza.
When many returning soldiers brought newfound tastes for European recipes to the United States, most restaurants answered by serving fish ‘n chips. But at Buddy’s Rendezvous, a Prohibition-era speakeasy (or “blind pig,” in Detroit-speak) that he had turned into a legitimate business, Gus Guerra recognized the soldiers’ flair for cultural dishes for what it was: a hunger for something new and different. Thus, he was inspired to create a new type of pizza pie. He enlisted his wife, Anna, to prepare a special pizza dough borrowed from the recipes of her mother’s Sicilian homeland. He lined the dough with a layer of pepperoni, a heaping layer of cheese, and topped it off with a thick drizzle of red sauce. The original and authentic Detroit-style pizza was born.
Gus Guerra’s gamble paid off as Detroit-style pizza quickly became a favorite neighborhood treat shared between friends and families enjoying moments of future nostalgia – a longtime staple of Detroit’s best cuisine. Today, dozens of pizzerias in Detroit and beyond continue to serve authentic Detroit-style pizza, a true slice of Americana.
In 1953, Gus and Anna and their business partner, Gaspar Genco (Anna’s uncle), sold their business to Jimmy Valenti and Jimmy Bonacorsi (who shorted the name to “Buddy’s”). The couple opened a new restaurant, Cloverleaf Pizza. Both establishments sold Gus’s original pizza recipe.
Buddy’s was eventually sold again, this time to William and Shirlee Jacobs. A former employee, Louis Tourtois, took the recipe with him to Shield’s, which grew from a corner bar to a six-location chain; and later made it the foundation of his own pizzeria, Loui’s Pizza. Today, Detroit-style pizza continues to be served at restaurants throughout Detroit, including Detroit Style Pizza Company, operated by Shawn Randazzo and his mother, Linda Michaels. Randazzo has helped popularize Motor City’s own pizza by winning international pizza competitions nationwide and teaming up with others from around the country who share the same passion for authentic Detroit-style Pizza.
About Shawn Randazzo
A stickler for authenticity, respectful of tradition, and with an eye toward the future, Shawn’s mission is to educate the world about Detroit Style Pizza and help others launch successful pizzerias by sharing his knowledge and resources.
- 2012 World Champion Pizza Maker of the Year
- 2012 First Place American Pan Division, International Pizza Challenge
- 2011 First Person to Advance to International Pizza Challenge Finals in Both Traditional and Non-Traditional Categories
- 2009 First Place, North American Pizza and Ice Cream Show
2012 World Champion Pizza Maker Shawn Randazzo fuses art and science in the pizza industry, drawing on his 17 years experience to craft award-winning pizzas while employing cutting-edge business strategies to maximize profits.
Shawn has earned respect in the pizza industry not only for his award-winning recipes, but also for his business acumen. He incorporates innovative business strategies to promote Detroit Style Pizza Co., including coast-to-coast mail order delivery, an integrated online ordering system that yields higher ticket averages, an efficient pizza delivery system that ensures profitable deliveries, and a rewarding employee-company culture that leads to highly-satisfied customers.
In addition, he regularly engages customers with public events, social media, contests, and marketing and public relations campaigns. These strategies have enabled Detroit Style Pizza Co. to experience rapid popularity and growth throughout Metro Detroit. Shawn also supports other pizzerias via training, consulting and sales.