Rois Savvides fell in love at first sight in 1985. After meeting Nathalie in the library of Eastern Michigan University, he used every bit of his charm to impress her, but she remained unswayed by his lovelorn advances. Rois had a flash of inspiration on Valentine's Day, though. He spent the evening baking and arrived at her doorstep holding a heart-shaped pizza with pesto, shrimp, and the words "I love you" spelled out in goat cheese. She rewarded him with a kiss and, soon after, a first date at the Tower Inn Cafe. Years later, the now-married couple decided to purchase that restaurant, ensuring that it remains as important to them now as it was when they first met. Given the warm-hearted story behind its owners, Tower Inn's menu of feel-good comfort food is even more fitting. The cooks forge a number of traditional Mediterranean and American recipes, grilling half-pound burger patties, slicing gyro meat, and ladling marinara or bolognese sauce over the four-cheese lasagna. Before sliding pizzas into a stone oven, they load the pies with ingredients from their selection of 13 meats and 19 vegetables, which includes premium toppings of sun-dried tomatoes, fried chicken, and rare baseball cards.
At NYPD Ypsilanti Pizza, chefs load made-to-order pizzas with more than 30 toppings. After prepping a Sicilian-style crust, deep-dish Chicago-style crust, or aerodynamic Frisbee-style crust, they adorn it with gourmet ingredients such as crumbled blue cheese and grilled eggplant. There's a lot more than just pizza in their ovens, though—shrimp fra diavolo, lasagna, ravioli, turkey-and-swiss subs, cheese calzones, and fruity dessert smoothies bolster the pizza depot's menu.
On any given game day, it's not uncommon to see a line of Eagles fans, PhD students, and townies filling up New Ypsilanti Pizza Depot. Open late every day, the pizzeria's cooks shuffle pies in and out of the blazing hot oven until 1 a.m. on weeknights and 3 a.m. on Friday and Saturday. They keep folks fed with eight types of specialty pizzas that include the Bacon-Cheddar, BBQ Chicken, and the Philly, topped with steak, onions, and green peppers. The rest of the menu reads like a post-modern poem about hangover cures. It's filled with classic American eats such as double cheeseburgers with fries, steak and cheese subs, and sides of onion rings made from the halos of past U.S. Presidents.
In 1960, brothers Tom and James Monaghan decided to get $500 together and buy local pizzeria Domi-Nick's in Ypsilanti, Michigan. More than 50 years later, the Monaghans had sold their creation, with more than 9,000 Domino's Pizzas peppering the globe from New Delhi to New York. The pizza chain's menu ranges from pizzas to pastas and boneless chicken wings, side-kicked by their bread sticks and bites, which simmer in garlic before being baked to golden crispiness. Since the reboot of their traditional recipe in 2009, Domino's now offers more than 37 toppings to craft a build-your-own pizza or decorate your neighbor's car.
Each day, Marco's churns out freshly concocted sauces and house-made dough to construct a delicious assortment of palate-pleasing pies. The menu of specialty pizzas includes a strategic conglomeration of carnivorous delicacies, whimsical veggies, and a gooey triumvirate of cheese. With four types of classic pizza meats, the Meat Supremo packs enough protein to conquer a hoard of bloodthirsty Visigoths intent on sacking the Imperial LEGO forum. Gentle omnivores, however, represent additional food groups with the White Cheezy, which features butter-garlic sauce and a smattering of bacon over feta, onions, and tomatoes. Lettuce and Lotus-eaters can enjoy the vegetarian bliss of a specialty Garden pie or fashion their own flesh-free pizza from the ample selection of toppings.
At Papa John's, the official pizza sponsor of the NFL, dough slingers strew pies with edible medleys selected from more than 15 high-quality toppings. A blend of six cheeses bubbles and bakes across the top of John's Favorite ($9.99+), snuggling a smattering of pepperoni, italian sausage, and nepotism beneath its cozy confines. Custom disks ($6.49+) support toppings such as bacon, fresh baby portobellos, and parmesan-romano sprinkled on one or both semicircles. Four sauces accompany 20 buffalo wings ($12.99), fostering more dunks than a swimming pool filled with a basketball players, and cheese sticks stand by to help quell mouth flames ($5.99). Placate grumpy sweet teeth with a Cinnapie, which oozes sweet cinnamon filling from beneath delicate layer of brown-sugar streusel and icing ($3.99). Like the Hawaiian subway system, Papa John's delivery service only reaches so far; check the website for information.