What makes Detroit Style Pizza unique?
An American tradition since 1946
About World Champion Pizza Maker Shawn Randazzo
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
Shawn has over two decades of experience in the pizza industry, and has earned several industry awards and accolades for the way he fuses art and science into crafting the perfect pizza pie. In 2012, Shawn won World Champion Pizza Maker of the Year; in 2011, he became the first person to ever advance to the finals in both the Traditional and Non-Traditional categories at the International Pizza Expo. He has been featured in many esteemed publications and interviewed for radio and television programs, including USA Today, Forbes, Fast Company, Hour Magazine, Food Network CA, The Washington Post and Detroit Free Press, among several others.
Shawn is well-respected in the global pizza industry not only for his award-winning recipes, but also his business acumen. He routinely employs cutting-edge business strategies to improve the customer experience and maximize profits. Two of Shawn’s most ambitious endeavors are Detroit Style Pizza Co. and DetroitStylePizza.com. He is a sought-after adviser for pizzerias spanning the entire globe; and readily shares his expertise in pizzeria and business with other pizzeria operators and pizza chefs at events such as the International Pizza Expo, where he has presented popular annual seminars.
Though well-versed in several pizza styles, Shawn hangs his hat on his award-winning Authentic Detroit Style Pizza recipe. In 2012, he launched DetroitStylePizza.com, which authenticates pizzerias that serve Authentic Detroit Style Pizza and serves as a resource hub for anyone wanting to learn more about the style. His efforts to popularize the style led “Hour Detroit Magazine” to hail Shawn as “truly the Motor City’s pizza evangelist.”
A true master of pizza making and marketing, Shawn Randazzo is the premier consultant for pizzeria owners, operators, and media members who want to learn more about making Authentic Detroit Style Pizza.
From Delivery Driver to World Champion Pizza Maker
Shawn Randazzo began his career in the pizza industry as a delivery driver in Metro Detroit. In 1997 he became a pizzeria owner under the brand he previously delivered for. He worked his way through the ranks and ultimately launched his own brand in 2012, Detroit Style Pizza Company, he co-founded with his mother, Linda Michaels.
Detroit Style Pizza Co.
Shawn is president and co-founder of Detroit Style Pizza Co.
Shawn is also the founder of DetroitStylePizza.com, a complete resource for consumers, pizza chefs, and pizzeria operators dedicated to the promotion and authenticity of Detroit Style Pizza. DetroitStylePizza.com is the hub of Shawn’s consulting services, which has served to train dozens of pizzerias in the United States, Canada, Germany, England, South Korea, and other countries to properly prepare Authentic Detroit Style Pizza. Moreover, Shawn’s training program helps pizzeria operators fine-tune employee and restaurant management, marketing, and business operations to help long-term pizzeria success. DetroitStylePizza.com also features a directory of Authentic Detroit Style Pizza Makers and a blog that offers news, tips, and resources related to Authentic Detroit Style Pizza.
Shawn’s strategies have not only helped him achieve personal and business success, but have helped countless others realize their dreams of operating successful pizzerias the world over. They’ve also enabled Authentic Detroit Style Pizza to realize a rapid increase in popularity, far beyond Metro Detroit. 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.
- Second Place Best of the Best (International Pizza Expo 2016)
- First Place Gluten Free Category (Motor City PizzaFest 2015)
- First Place Gourmet Category (Motor City PizzaFest 2015)
- First Place Vegetarian Category (Motor City PizzaFest 2015)
- Best Pizza Overall (Motor City PizzaFest 2015)
- Third Place Best of Best (International Pizza Expo 2014)
- First Place Deep Dish Category (Motor City PizzaFest 2014)
- First Place Gourmet Category (Motor City PizzaFest 2014)
- Second Place Best of the Best (International Pizza Expo 2013)
- World Champion Pizza Maker of the Year (International Pizza Expo 2012)
- First Place American Pan Division (International Pizza Expo 2012)
- Third Place Finish Traditional Category (American Pizza Championship 2011)
- 2009 First Place Pizza Traditional Category (North American Pizza and Ice Cream Show 2009)
Distribution & Mail Order:
Detroit Style Pizza Company
(Commercial Mixes, Pans and Utensils)
29347 Gratiot Ave.
Roseville, MI. 48066
Training/Consulting/Equipment/Flour/Mail Order Pizza/Education
Detroit Style Pizza Company
(Carry-out & Delivery)
28630 Harper Ave.
St. Clair Shores, MI. 48081
“You Gotta Eat Here” – Food Network Canada – 2015