You’ve probably heard of minimalist Neapolitan pizza, the New York style with foldable slices, or their deep-dish cousin from Chicago. Now, Alabamians are going over the moon for Detroit pizza pies.

What are Detroit pizzas? They are squared, thick, backward-stacked pies that only could have come out of the Motor City.

Originating in Detroit in 1946, they have become a trendy style nationally in the last few years, as pizza, in general, has caught the fancy of both old-school pizzaioli and new-wave chefs. Even Detroit-based Little Caesars sells a hometown-style pizza.

The signature feature is a crisp cheesy crust and corners, produced in part by rectangular forged-steel pans like those used by Detroit autoworkers to hold nuts and bolts on the assembly line. That’s what Gus Guerra and his kitchen mates at Buddy’s Rendezvous Pizzeria repurposed when they made what is generally considered to be the first square pizza in the United States.

The square shape helps distinguish the Detroit style from the round, deep-dish Chicago style. Detroit style more closely resembles Sicilian pizza, but also is decidedly different. The Motor City version is inverted, with the meat stacked first on top of the twice-risen dough.

Then comes the cheese—Wisconsin brick cheese for purists—that is spread all the way to the edges. Instead of being slathered with sauce, Buddy’s original version gets three vertical red stripes. The pie needs about 25 minutes to bake.

While Detroit pies cook, the cheese melts along the edges, caramelizing against the steel pan to create a crunchy exterior called frico. The pillowy-soft interior provides a textural contrast.

Here are places to try Detroit-style pizza in Alabama. But don’t worry if deep-dish is not your favorite. They also serve more familiar round pies.


Uncle G’s


George Gilliam turned a pandemic cooking obsession into a business, starting in 2021 with a single food truck parked in Pelham. Now Uncle G’s has two roving trucks (schedules are posted weekly on its social media) and a brick-and-mortar in Hoover that opened in March. The whole pizza feeds two to three. Slices, which are a quarter pizza, also can be purchased. Only “The Red” and Margherita have red sauce on the pie. The other six composed options are served with red sauce on the side.

Pie to try: Dal Giardino (garlic ricotta cream base, shredded cheese, mushrooms, spinach, purple onion)

Address: 1851 Montgomery Highway


Emmy Squared


The Brooklyn-based chain opened its first Alabama outpost in July 2023 at The Summit shopping center. The company’s chief operations officer, Pennington Pribbenow, was born and raised in Birmingham. The menu features build-your-own options in addition to its 12 composed pizzas. It even has a vegan version made with confit-cooked garlic cloves.

Pie to try: MVP aka Most Valuable Pesto (house-made vodka sauce, red sauce, garlic parsley pesto, and sesame seed crust)

Address: 300 Summit Boulevard


Culinary Dropout


A new addition to The Summit’s roster, the restaurant opened in March. Culinary Dropout features three composed Detroit-style pan pizzas—pepperoni and Italian sausage, cheese, and black truffle mushroom. The restaurant, which has locations in six states, is part of Fox Restaurant Concepts, which is owned by Cheesecake Factory. (It also owns the Summit eatery North Italia.)

Pie to try: Black Truffle Mushroom (also with smoked onion alfredo, mozzarella, and arugula)

Address: 241 Summit Boulevard


Jet’s Pizza


Its soon-to-open Alabama location will mark the 19th state for the chain, founded in 1978 in the Detroit suburb of Sterling Heights. Jet’s plays up the frico concept with options to “flavorize” the crust (butter, Romano, poppy seed, sesame seed, garlic, Cajun). Detroit pie options include four-piece (four corner) and eight-piece (eight corner), on up to the Party Tray (24 pieces). Pepperoni or cheese also are available by the slice. The menu includes 13 composed pizzas and a BYO option.

Pie to try: Jet 10 (sauce, mozzarella, pepperoni, ham, hamburger, Italian sausage, bacon, mushrooms, onions, green peppers, black olives)

Address: 1079 Balch Road


Rotolo’s Pizzeria

Orange Beach, Fairhope

The Louisiana-based chain can be found in six states, including two stores in Alabama (and one over the Florida line in Gulf Breeze). It offers four types of Detroit pizza, all composed. Rotolo’s menu emphasizes its frico crusts. Many ingredients are made in-house, including pizza dough, sauces, and sausages.

Pie to try: Sausage Ricotta (mozzarella, Rotolo’s spicy sausage, Rotolo’s original sauce, whipped ricotta, Mike’s hot honey drizzle)

Addresses: 35755 Perdido Beach Boulevard (Orange Beach); 100 Eastern Shore Shopping Center (U.S. 98 in Fairhope)