Finally! This weekend finally got here. It’s a weekend that J and I have been looking forward to for quite a while. My family, including my 9 month old niece, was coming to see us. The purpose behind the trip was to take in a ballgame at Comerica Park. It was unfortunate that we couldn’t pick a weekend that the White Sox were in town, but my brother and sister-in-law already had vacations planned for this week and since the Tigers were home, we got tickets and planned on enjoying a long weekend in Michigan.
Before we could go to the game, we had to find food. As I’ve mentioned on this blog before, pizza is the easiest thing for us all to agree on. Most people recommended Pizza Papalis in Greektown which, up until a few weeks ago, was the plan. As I was surfing the Chow.com boards, I kept reading about Buddy’s Pizza.
I’ve eaten at the Pizza Papalis in Southfield and loved it, but, it was Chicago-style pizza. My family is from Chicago, so I wanted to give them a uniquely Detroit experience. When I posted a thread on Chow.com, I got several replies that Buddy’s would give them the uniquely Detroit experience and it was some of the best pizza in the country.
Buddy’s Pizza has multiple locations in the Metro Detroit area, but being the sucker for originals that I am, we chose the location on Conant Street and E. McNichols Road. I seriously had my doubts about the place and I’m pretty sure my family was questioning my judgement. You have to remember, we grew up in a town of 750 people. My parents have never lived anywhere else. My brother lives just north of them in a town of about 1300 people. Those numbers are not typos. The only impression they had of Detroit was the one portrayed in 8 Mile. They assumed that we were going to a cute neighborhood that would be more like the neighborhood centers in Chicago. That’s not what we found.
The area surrounding Buddy’s Pizza is really run down. As we turned on McNichols to find the parking lot, we were met by a guard shack that was actually staffed. We actually thought he was there to collect money for parking. Nope. It was security…at 4:00 in the afternoon. This freaked my mom out a little bit. What kind of place needs a security officer in the parking lot in broad daylight?
Still, I forged on and we made our way to the backdoor which is the easiest entrance from the parking lot. As we entered the hallway and made our way up a couple of steps to the dining room, we stopped to look at the awards and the plaques hanging on the walls. I think this put my family at ease a little bit.
When we got inside, we were met by a waitress. The restaurant is divided into two levels. The top level where we entered is the non-smoking section. The kitchen and women’s restroom are also located here. The lower level holds the smoking section, the bar, men’s restroom, and a small party room. We were seated at a table for eight in the top level. There are four of these large tables in addition to four tops and a few two tops on either side of these bigger tables.
Without us having to ask, the waitress brought a high chair for my niece and we got settled in. We all started with pops. Everyone except my dad and I got Diet Cokes. I got a regular Coke. Dad got a root beer. The menu at Buddy’s is pretty standard pizzeria fare, but they also had some burgers and sandwiches. After a little bit of discussion, we went ahead and started our order.
The first thing we got was an order of oven baked cheese and bacon fries. We knew two pizzas wouldn’t probably be enough, so we started with this appetizer. The fries were wedges that were covered in cheese and bacon. They were good, but nothing great. It was a good start to the meal and there was enough for all six of us to share. Even my niece tried to get in on the action, but mommy kept pulling her away.
As we were finishing up with the fries, our two pizzas came up. We got two eight squares hoping it would be enough to feed the six of us. One of the pizzas was the Meat Deluxe which came with cheese, pepperoni, Italian sausage, ham, bacon, and seasoned ground beef. The other pizza was half cheese and half sausage.
Whenever some place claims to be “the best,” it puts a lot of pressure on them to deliver. It also scares the crap out of me when I make these same claims to someone to get them to go there. My dad took the job of passing out slices because we wanted to keep the hot pans away from my niece who was getting grabby and wanted to be a part of the meal. I got a slice of the meat deluxe pizza first. I bit in and I think I started smiling. The pizza was as good, if not better, than advertised. It was delicious.
If you’re familiar with Chicago-style pizza, Buddy’s is very similar to Lou Malnati’s. My family prefers thin crust pizza. My mom even asked if there was a thin crust option. Once she actually saw the pizza, she was more than pleased with the crust. Everyone was thinking it was going to be a two inch crust with a 1/4 layer of toppings. It was just the opposite. The bottom crust was actually very thin, cooked very crunchy, and very fat heavy which just made it melt in your mouth. My brother said it was like a really good piece of garlic bread. It’s so good, you could eat it with no toppings and it would still be one of the best pizzas you’ve ever had.
As I write this two days later, I’m having a hard time really remembering much about the toppings. The meat deluxe pizza was loaded with meat and you got a little bit of each type in every bite. Everyone loved the pizza. Even though they were very hesitant on the drive in, once everyone took that first bite, they were sold on the place. I heard no complaints from some very picky eaters
Buddy’s is one of the best pizzas I’ve ever had. The neighborhood for the original location is a little sketchy and I could see that turning some people off. It’s one of those places that Detroit is, and should be, very proud of. Just like Lou’s, Giordano’s, and Uno’s are synonymous with Chicago pizza, Buddy’s is Detroit pizza. The square deep dish is something I’ve never seen anywhere else and the flaky, buttery crust made for one of the most delicious pizza’s I’ve ever sunk my teeth into.
The cost for all that food was just under $50. We printed off a coupon from the website for $3 off an 8-square pizza. I think they may have applied it to both of our pizzas. It seems like we got an awful lot of food for that price. We all left stuffed. I had four squares while everyone else was cutting their last piece in half. They wanted more, but couldn’t handle the whole slice. The whole meal took less than 45 minutes which gave us a little time to run to the site of the old Tiger Stadium to see what was left before heading to Comerica Park for a great night at the ballpark that started with an incredible meal.