Invented at the corner of Six Mile and Conant in downtown Detroit, much of the origin story of Detroit Style Pizza has maintained a mystery for 77 years. In her book Detroit Style Pizza: A Doughtown History, author Karen Dybis takes readers into the kitchens that developed, fought over and sought to perfect this delectable dish.
From the pizza’s humble origins, starting with Gus Guerra putting the first square pie in the oven at Buddy’s, through the waves of chefs who adopted the innovative recipe in their own unique way, to the International Pizza Expo in Las Vegas, where a pizza evangelist spreads the word about Detroit Style, Dybis leaves no stone unturned.
“There was no question that the first pizza was made at Buddy’s, but there were a lot of different families involved in the beginning and some went off and opened their own restaurants and put their own spin on the pizza, creating this intricate web of stories and origins,” says Karen Dybis, author of Detroit Style Pizza: A Doughtown History. “It was an honor to finally untangle the web and provide Detroiters the history book they deserve on the beloved pizza style.”
On Friday, June 23, National Detroit-Style Pizza Day, Dybis will celebrate the launch of her book at the place where it all began at Six Mile and Conant at the original Buddy’s Pizza.
The restaurant opened in 1946 in what was previously a speakeasy called Buddy’s Rendezvous. Using a bit of ingenuity Gus Guerra, along with other Buddy’s Pizza employees, created the first Detroit-Style Pizza – a square-shaped pie that was the first of its kind in a world of round pizza. Since then, Buddy’s has grown to 22 locations across the state of Michigan and the innovative style has spread across the globe.
“We’ve always been proud of our pies and to be the place where it all started, but Detroit-Style Pizza wouldn’t be where it is today if it weren’t for all the Detroiters who have spread the word to create this incredible following,” says Wes Pikula, Chief Brand Officer of Buddy’s Pizza and 48-year veteran of the company. “It’s remarkable to think how one creative day in the kitchen could change pizza as we know it and have such a great impact on the industry. It’s been an honor to watch the growth of the pizza style and we’re grateful for the community’s support along the way.”
In honor of the national holiday, Buddy’s is donating $1 from every pizza sold at all 22 locations to The Salvation Army. Customers can also donate to The Salvation Army during the month of June when they order online at https://www.buddyspizza.com/order-buddys.
Buddy’s founded National Detroit-Style Pizza Day in 2021 to celebrate its 75th anniversary and commemorate the company’s role in creating the iconic pizza style. The national day allows Detroit-Style pizzerias across the nation to honor the history, style and roots of where it began.
June 23 is also known as Buddy’s Pizza Day in Detroit, which was recognized by former Detroit Mayor Dave Bing and Detroit City Council to credit Buddy’s Pizza for putting Detroit on the map and showcasing the city’s innovation.