Detroit-style pizza is taking a cue from the snowbirds and heading to the Valley of the Sun.
As we told you late last year, Jet's Pizza is set to open two locations in metro Phoenix — one store in Phoenix at 10855 North Tatum Boulevard and another in Chandler at 4245 South Arizona Avenue, according to a spokesperson from the company. The Chandler location is set to open this month, but the company hasn't yet announced when the Phoenix restaurant will debut.
The chain, based in Sterling Heights, Michigan, is known for its Detroit-style deep dish pizza, characterized by a thick crust, crispy edges, and its square shape. While this style of pan pizza is second nature for Michiganders (including this writer, who was born and raised in the Motor City), we realize it's a relatively foreign concept for people who have never lived in the Mitten State.
So, let us explain.
Detroit-style pizza is a hot and crusty dish that traces its roots back to 1946, with a guy named Gus Guerra, the owner of a bar called Buddy's Rendezvous. In need of a new menu item, he did what many do when they're fresh out of ideas: He asked his wife, who came up with the concept using her mother's Sicilian dough.
And just like that, a Detroit legend was born.
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There are plenty of variations: Some swear by the "traditional" Wisconsin brick cheese Buddy's serves, while many prefer their red sauce on top of the cheese. But what's key to the whole operation is the pan: a heavily greased blackened steel pan, as opposed to its aluminum cousin, which makes for an airy deep-dish crust.
Buddy's still exists today, and the company's expanded somewhat through metro Detroit. But it's hardly the only game in the city. Loui's, Cloverleaf, Jet's, and others each have their own take on the Detroit slice.
Jet's started in 1978 in Sterling Heights by brothers Eugene and John Jetts. It eventually became a popular chain and now is expanding across country, with locations in Texas, Colorado, and more. In Michigan, it's the kind of place you order delivery from on a lazy Friday night. (My family worshiped at the altar of Loui's Pizza, a cozy spot in Hazel Park, Michigan, but our love for Loui's also didn't stop us from ordering the occasional pie from Jet's.)
So in short, it's a perfectly acceptable rendition of the Detroit-style pizza and a welcome addition to Phoenix's pizza offerings.