Pizzarias

453. 313 Pizza Bar – December 28, 2019 – Lake Orion, MI

December2019313PizzaBar1 (2)December2019313PizzaBar2 (2)December2019313PizzaBar3 (2)Detroit-style pizza = my heart. I love that doughy, crispy, greasy, cheesy, saucy stuff! So of course I had to visit the recently opened 313 Pizza Bar in downtown Lake Orion.

Full disclosure: I’m related to one of the owners of this place. But familial bias aside, my conclusion after my visit is that 313 Pizza Bar is proffering up some very tasty pizza!

The restaurant is in downtown Lake Orion, on the site of the former Lockhart’s BBQ. The building is bringing the industrial vibes, all brick walls and bare-bulb lighting and exposed ductwork. There’s a cozy bar area on the first floor, with strands of twinkle lights strung above it. During my visit, I sat in the second-floor dining area, which has its own bar area and a wall of windows offering views of the cityscape outside.

Besides offering signature and build-your-own pizza options, 313 Pizza Bar serves appetizers such as bruschetta, cheese bread, and meatballs, plus hearty sandwiches (here’s looking at you, Muffuletta and Philly Cheesesteak!) and salads (so you can counterbalance the doughy, crispy, greasy, cheesy, saucy aspect of the meal with some greens).

While the appetizers and sandwiches sounded appealing, I was at 313 Pizza Bar for its namesake dish, so I zeroed in on that Signature Pizzas section. Many intriguing choices were showcased there: see the Spicy Sausage and Peppers with its mix of hot Italian sausage, banana peppers, green peppers, and red onion and the Tangy BBQ Chicken with its Tangy Carolina BBQ Sauce – both prime options for revisit meals for me. But it was the Chicken Pesto pizza that captured our collective attention during this meal, along with individually-sized salads (the Green Garden for me, the Antipasto for my fellow diners).

Our salads came out quickly, beds of greens loaded up with ingredients. The Antipasto salad was especially stacked with goodies: salami and ham and cheese and chickpeas, artichoke hearts and cherry tomatoes and cucumber and black olives and banana peppers. I enjoyed my Green Garden salad with its crispy croutons and spicy banana peppers.

Then it was on to the main course! The Chicken Pesto pizza arrived in all of its cheesy, crispy-crusted glory. The large-sized pizza contained eight pieces and was essentially two, four-slice pizzas, meaning that every piece was one of the much-beloved corner pieces (WOO-HOO!).

With its crust that was both doughy and crispy (YEAH, Detroit-style pizza!), its flavorful pesto sauce and thick layer of mozzarella cheese studded with chunks of chicken breast and fresh garlic dusted in Parmesan and pecorino romano, this Chicken Pesto pizza was delicious! I savored several pieces of it, gorging on its rich, carb-and-dairy-laden goodness.

Oh, Detroit-style pizza, how you sustain me during these stark winter days! Thank you, 313 Pizza Bar, for being a purveyor of this much-beloved local delicacy!

37 E. Flint St.

Lake Orion, MI 48362

www.313pizza-bar.com

 

402. Grandma Bob’s – March 28, 2019 – Detroit, MI

March2019GrandmaBobs2 (3)March2019GrandmaBobs1 (3)Grandma Bob’s is serving up some delicious pizza in the D!

This I discovered on a Thursday night in late March, after happy-hour drinks with a friend at beloved 100 Places in the D alumni member Two James Spirits. Starving after our adult-beverage imbibing, we continued the revelry at the then newly-opened Corktown-based pizzeria.

Is there any food that tastes better after you’ve had a few drinks than pizza? Of course, pizza tastes just as amazing stone-cold-sober as it does when you’re tipsy, but you know what I mean. We had worked up an appetite and were excited to taste-test Grandma Bob’s wares.

Walking into Grandma Bob’s, I admired its fun, funky vibe. Bare lightbulbs hung amidst a tangle of cording from the ceiling. The walls were dark, and the prominent artwork they showcased was a striking ceramic-tile mural of a piece of pizza. A bar along one wall provided seat options, as did long communal tables.

At the time of our visit, the pizzeria had some intriguing choices on its menu, including a Coney pizza loaded with all of the fixings of the iconic hot dog (the chili, the mustard, the onions, the hot dog itself – you name it!) and the Pear + Fig pie with its slices of pear, dried figs, honey, walnuts, blue cheese, and basil.

Usually I love to try a pizza loaded with intriguing topping options. Why wasn’t I going for Grandma Bob’s Taco pie with its roasted corn, jalapeños, onion, chorizo, radish, crushed corn chips, cilantro, and lime? For whatever reason, I was in a no-frills mood, and the classic Cheese pizza with its mozzarella, red sauce, and shredded basil was calling my name, so I heeded the call.

My friend went simple, too, opting for the Pepperoni pizza. We ordered at the counter at the front of Grandma Bob’s, procuring a round of drinks, as well; I enjoyed one of the bar’s tasty craft cocktails – though 4.5 months later, I can’t for the life of me remember what it was called or what it contained (here’s to taking real notes going forward instead of mental notes – and to catching up on the blog so I’m posting in real time!).

Our food came out promptly, and THESE PIZZAS, you guys. They were paragons of fresh, cheesy goodness!

Grandma Bob’s cheese pizza was a reminder of what cheese pizza should taste like: so richly flavorful, making my taste buds go “WOW!!!” Who needs all of the extra toppings when you’ve got cheese pizza like that to eat? It was seriously phenomenal.

My friend felt the same way about the pizza she ordered, that it was more flavorfully nuanced than your typical pepperoni pie. It had honey drizzled over it, giving it a subtle sweetness that she enjoyed.

I ate every slice of the twelve-inch round I ordered but one, opting to take it home so I could savor it later. I left Grandma Bob’s feeling full and satisfied, excited to have discovered yet another awesome locally-owned establishment in Detroit (the city is positively brimming with ’em!).

2135 Michigan Ave.

Detroit, MI 48216

www.grandmabobs.com

370. Crispelli’s – October 10, 2018 – Berkley, MI

October2018Crispellis1 (2)October2018Crispellis4 (2)October2018Crispellis3 (2)The pizza drew me to Crispelli’s of Berkley, but what captured my heart was its salad.

The heart-capturing was specifically carried out by Crispelli’s Mediterranean salad, with its wonderfully zesty lemon-oregano dressing and super-fresh-tasting ingredients: crisp mixed greens and cucumber; marinated red onion; vibrant beets; briny Kalamata olives; creamy chunks of feta; and crunchy toasted breadstick.

This Mediterranean salad is LIIIFFEEE, my friends. I got the side-salad version of it, which was hearty for its size; entrée and family-sized versions are also available. In my humble opinion, it would 100 percent not be a mistake to come to this pizzeria and order that salad as your entrée. And that’s saying a lot, because I love me some pizza.

And Crispelli’s, the local pizza purveyor with additional locations in Troy and West Bloomfield (and a bakery, Bread by Crispelli’s, in Royal Oak), is known for its pizza. It’s kind of a big deal around these parts, so it’s crazy to me that it took me over 4.5 years of blogging at 100 Places in the D to finally sample its wares. The Red Pie pizza I  ordered, with its chunks of fresh mozzarella, sausage, caramelized onion, and Detroit-style deep-dish crust (patrons are given a choice between that and thin crust), was good. But I’m telling ya, that salad!

Aesthetics-wise, I enjoyed the mish-mash of ambiance at the Berkley location of Crispelli’s. The front part is casual: an order-at-the-counter dining hall-type set up. The back area is fancier, with a bar and servers to attend to guests, and there are patio areas where you can receive sit-down service, as well. I enjoyed sitting on the front patio in what was presumably my last outdoor dining experience of the year (R.I.P. ’til 2019, patio season!).

28939 Woodward Ave.

Berkley, MI 48072

www.crispellis.com

368. Loui’s Pizza – October 6, 2018 – Hazel Park, MI

October2018Louis1 (2)October2018Louis2 (4)October2018Louis3 (3)Loui’s Pizza: I’m OBSESSED!!!!

The last-but-most-certainly-not-least of the five new places I visited on my 34th birthday, the Hazel Park-based pizzeria majorly exceeded my expectations, even dethroning Buddy’s Pizza as my favorite local pizza purveyor, which is a VERY BIG DEAL.

I actually feel sacrilegious saying I like Loui’s Pizza better than Buddy’s, because Buddy’s is a part of the family mythology on my mother’s side. My great-grandma made the sauce at the original, still-open location at Six Mile and Conant in Detroit. Buddy’s Pizza is sort of in our DNA – or at the very least, our go-to main course for family celebrations. But MAN, is Loui’s Pizza good!

The pizzeria was PACKED when my mom, stepdad, and I arrived around 7:30 on that rainy Saturday evening. Its cheery red interior felt homey and welcoming with its ceilings hung with twinkle lights and multitude of empty wine bottles signed by patrons; it vibrated with good energy. Loui’s cozy-retro confines felt like the warmth of a beloved grandparent’s hug: safe and secure and reassuring.

Our server was prompt and friendly. While we waited for our pizza, we shared an individual-sized antipasto salad. I’m generally not one for antipasto salads, but this one impressed me: it was fresh and flavorful, with chunks of ham in addition to the salami and a tasty dressing.

And then, it was the moment of truth: our pizza arrived. I bit into my first slice of sausage-and-onion-topped pie, and O.M.G.

Loui’s pizza may be the best pizza I have ever eaten; it’s certainly the best pizza I can recall eating. The cheese was rich, plentiful, and flavorful. The edges of the crust were crispy, greasy deliciousness. The bottom part of the crust was not super well-done, allowing us to taste its doughiness – which we enjoyed, because it was wonderful tasting. The sauce was not as plentiful as Buddy’s, and also not as strongly flavored, and we liked that.

We all agreed: this iteration of Detroit-style pizza was better than Buddy’s, however awkward that was to admit in the face of our family mythology (sorry, Buddy’s – we still love you!).

The gloriousness of Loui’s pizza continued for me with the two leftover slices I took home along with a portion of cheesy breadsticks my mom had ordered to-go because they’d taunted us from a nearby table. How good those were, too! They were loaded with that rich, flavorful cheese.

Two weeks later, I’m still dreaming of Loui’s and its epic pizza and breadsticks. I want to hole up within its cozy interior and get some of that cheesy, greasy, doughy perfection back into my belly!

Worth noting: Loui’s is closed on Mondays and Tuesdays.

23141 Dequindre Rd.

Hazel Park, MI 48030

90. MiChigo Pizza – December 19, 2014 – Ferndale, MI

20141219_175015

Mmmmm…cheesy goodness…. The Mrs. Robinson’s Motown Classic personal deep-dish pizza.

I’ve been wanting to try this place for months now. MiChigo offers Chicago-style, specialty deep-dish pizzas. Check out the adorably tiny personal deep-dish pizza I got. I absolutely devoured it.

255. W. Nine Mile Rd.

Ferndale, MI 48220

www.michigopizza.com