The pizza industry can be a crowded kitchen; it's tough for any particular pie to stand out above the field. But don't tell that to Shield's Pizza. Founded in Detroit in 1937, Shield's quickly gained a following for the pizza that remains its signature item: deep-dish pies, served in square-shaped portions. The restaurant has followed the same recipes and techniques since its inception by making the dough fresh daily, using fresh meat and produce for toppings, and loading up pies with layers of Wisconsin cheese. Mindful of the way appetites have evolved in the last half-century, they also craft hand-tossed, round gluten-free and multi-grain pizzas in addition to its traditional crust.
Shield's menu also extends beyond its pizza perfection. Homemade soup, pasta, burgers, ribs, and sandwiches offer savory alternatives, as well as appetizers such as nachos and buffalo wings. Pours of draft beer help wash down bites or scrub pizza sauce out of your silk ascot.
Radio-show host Ron Cameron has been a sports-radio personality for more than 40 years, so it’s no surprise that his restaurant’s name—All-Star Grill and Pizza—pays homage to the field. His restaurant’s menu, though, veers from sports-style food in favor of Italian dishes such as pizza, paninis, and pasta stirred with a gondolier’s oar. Chefs also fire Angus-beef burgers and hot dogs.
Uncle Andy's Pizza's kitchen crew crafts dough from scratch each day to serve as a base for traditional and deep-dish pizzas, which complement the carryout menu's sandwiches and finger fare. For square deep-dish, round traditional crust, or thin and crispy crust pies (thin crust available on small and large only) choose from small with six slices ($5.99+), medium with eight slices ($7.49+), large with 10 slices ($8.99+), x-large with 15 slices ($10.99+), and party tray with 30 slices ($19.99+). Round or rectangular crusts give shape to specialty pizzas ($9.99–$29.99), such as a bacon-cheddar-cheeseburger pie. Hungry digits deconstruct half slabs of barbecue ribs ($9.99) and stretch around 10 buffalo wings ($6.99) slathered in a choice of four sauces. The kitchen staff forms 16-inch grinders ($9.99) and beckon teeth to excavate the italian sub's salami, baked ham, and three-cheese blend. When not baking edible wheels, Uncle Andy's Pizza often holds fundraisers for local charities and helps out-of-work forks find jobs as staple removers.
Sila Italian Restaurant & Bar has been slinging up Italian-American classics for more than 50 years—practically an eternity in the restaurant industry. After all this time, Sila's pizza is still one of the most popular items on the menu, with chefs loading up thin and deep-dish crusts with traditional toppings of sausage and pepperoni, as well as gourmet alternatives such as eggplant and shrimp. They also tuck cheese inside manicotti noodles and toss meatballs and sauce atop submarine sandwiches. To pair with these stick-to-your-ribs creations, the bar pours red and white wines, soft drinks, and beers by the glass, pitcher, or wheelbarrow.
The dough wizards at Papa John's hand toss circular masterpieces with original and thin crusts made from high-protein flour to support warm bouquets of toppings. Hand-cut produce crowns all of Papa John's pizzas, mingling with the sun-soaked sweetness of sauce made from fresh, California-grown tomatoes. By adhering to its brand promise of "better ingredients, better pizza," Papa John's grew from a back-tavern pizzeria into more than 3,500 restaurants within three decades' time, or the amount of time it takes to grow a single pizzeria from a small seed.
Pizza has been the main draw at Tania's Pizza since the restaurant opened in 1987. That's not much of a surprise, but this place does have a few tricks up its sleeve. Chief among these are the creative specialty pies, which include the Sam's Hawaiian (ham, pineapple, bacon, and onion) and the Royal Oaker topped or stuffed with cheese, pepperoni, ground beef, onions and banana peppers. The eatery complements its signature dish with oven-baked calzones, meatball subs, and other traditional dishes hailing from the quaint town of Italy, Michigan.