Detroit-style pizza has officially become a trend in Dallas, and the latest purveyor is a biggie: Called Thunderbird Pies, it's a new pizza in town from Jay Jerrier, founder of Cane Rosso & Zoli's Pizza and Dallas' most famous pizza player.
Thunderbird Pies is a "ghost kitchen" concept — IE no sit-down restaurant, just delivery and takeout only — spearheaded by World Pizza Champion and pizzaiolo Lee Hunzinger which will deliver Detroit-style pizzas to Dallas.
The pizza will be available August 10, exclusively on Uber Eats for pickup or delivery in the North Central Dallas area, out of Zoli's in Addison for now.
Detroit-style pizzas are square, baked in a pan, and crunchy on the bottom. Their most distinctive trait is the fact that the cheese is distributed right up to the edge of the pie and forms a crisp, melted-cheese crust.
Jerrier says in a statement that Detroit style is similar to a square pizza they serve at Zoli's called a Sicilian, but they're not the same.
"Detroit-style pizzas might not look too different from the square Sicilians that we make at Zoli’s, but there are a few big changes that make them stand on their own," Jerrier says. "Detroits have a more prominent butter flavor due to the oil that lines the steel baking pans and the use of Wisconsin brick cheese, which has a higher butterfat content than traditional mozzarella. We also add white cheddar to the mix to give them even more flavor."
In addition to that signature "frico" cheese crust edge, Detroit-style also has sauce on top.
There are 8 varieties, priced from $19 to $27 as follows:
- Budd, with cheese
- Connie, with pepperoni cups
- Blind Pig, with vodka sauce, sausage, onion, and cherry peppers
- Drip Pan, with hot soppressata, sausge, mushrooms, onions, and peppers
- Honey Bastard, with hot soppressata, bacon marmalde, and habanero honey
- Zuko, with bacon, red onion, pickled jalapeno, and charred pineapple drizzle
- Lafayette Green, a veggie with eggplant, zucchini, tomato, olive, and pesto
- Santa Champ, with hot soppressata, stracciatella, chili onion crisp
According to the release, the Thunderbird team was inspired by famous Detroit-style pizza joints that include Buddy's in Detroit, Emmy Squared in New York, Pizza Rock in Las Vegas, and Via 313 Pizza in Austin.
Dallas-Fort Worth has a few options for Detroit-style pizza including Jet's Pizza, a chain with a location in Bedford; 8 Mile Pies, a small ghost kitchen concept launched in the spring; and Gemelle, the Tim Love restaurant in Fort Worth.
In addition to Thunderbird, Jerrier and Chief Culinary Officer Jeff Bekavac recently formed a partnership for Cane Rosso and Zoli’s with Goldbelly, the New York-based company that ships famous (frozen) food from around the country.
"We get comments all the time asking us whether we ship to Florida, Hawaii, Colorado, all over the place, really. People move away from Dallas and still want that Honey Bastard," Bekavac says in a statement.
He says they did a ton of testing in their home ovens, and shipped out frozen test pies to friends and family around the country to make sure they had it nailed.
Fans of Cane Rosso can find 2-or-4 packs of pizzas, and Zoli’s can get their round or square pies, as well as pans of Zoli’s brisket lasagna.
And while Thunderbird is a ghost kitchen for now, they hope to find a permanent location down the road.
"We definitely see a big future opportunity with Thunderbird and want to find a small space to do more takeout & delivery until this shitshow is over," Jerrier says.