Over the last few years, the area around Ann Arbor-Saline and Lohr Roads has transformed with new stores and restaurants. The latest restaurant to arrive, Buddy’s Pizza, brings Detroit-style pizza to Ann Arbor.
What makes a pizza Detroit-style? Its square shape and deep dish crust. Legend has it that the proprietor of the original Buddy’s developed this type of pizza in the 1940s.
Motor City munchies
Buddy’s, which operates 12 locations around Detroit, offers more than pizza, including soups, salads, and pasta dishes like chicken parmesan. You can order a burger made from ground steak trimmings delivered daily from Eastern Market or try sandwiches like a turkey pita.
Yet it is hard to resist the siren call of Buddy’s pizza, available in squares of four or eight pieces. You can build your own with traditional toppings or exotic ones like capers and beets. Try specialties like the Gourmet Veggie and BBQ Chicken, or pizzas inspired by the Motor City and Great Lakes. The Lake Michigan, for example, has Motor City cheese blend, ground beef, caramelized onions, bleu cheese and tomato basil sauce.
If thick crust isn’t your style, Sicilian-style thin crust is available. A kids’ menu offers chicken strips, grilled cheese fingers, or pastas like spaghetti or mac & cheese for $4.99. Drinks are extra.
Dining in D-town style
My kids, ages 14 and 10, and I visited on a busy Friday night. Seating is split between tables and booths. There are lots of windows, high industrial or wood beam ceilings, and exposed brick walls dotted with TVs.
“Oh, look! These windows go up in the summer!” I exclaimed of the garage-door type windows by our table.
“I know,” my 10-year-old replied, stone faced. I think her teenage brother rolled his eyes. Ah, tweens and teens.
We started with Buddy’s Bread, aka garlic bread sticks ($3.49). Then we picked a medium Antipasto salad ($9.99) and an 8-square pizza, half Motown Museum (Old World pepperoni and bacon) and half Parade Company (fresh basil and roasted tomatoes). Both came with the Motor City cheese blend, which is brick, Fontinella and Parmesan cheeses.
The Buddy Bread arrived quickly. “These are good,” I mentioned. The hot, doughy bread sticks were dusted with garlic butter and parmesan cheese.
“I love them!” enthused my daughter.
The Antipasto salad had pleasing proportions of romaine and iceberg lettuce, ham, salami and Wisconsin brick cheese. I found the amount of vinaigrette just right while my son thought it was too much.
We all agreed the pizza was yummy. The crust was thick, yet light, with crunchy edges. The pieces of Parade Company had an appetizing basil flavor. I could really taste the roasted tomatoes.
After the subtle flavors of the Parade Company, I enjoyed the meaty, salty goodness of the Old World pepperoni and bacon on the Motown Museum pieces. I am curious to try a thin crust next time, to see if the topping flavors would be even more potent with a thinner crust.
Desserts included sundaes, cookies and brownies, but we were stuffed with Detroit-style goodness. Fortunately, Buddy’s offers carryout, too— which means next time, we’re definitely including a sweet ending in our order to take home.
The Short Course
To avoid wait: Try lunchtime or go early for dinner
Noise level: High
Bathroom amenities: Changing table in men’s and women’s
High chairs? Yes
Got milk? Yes, plus pop or a fruit juice box
Kids’ menu? Yes
Anything healthy for kids? Pizzas can be lightly cheesed or ordered without any cheese. Nutrition details are available online. Food allergy concerns? Visit the “Common Allergen Information” link on their website.