Shawn Randazzo has helped popularize Detroit pizza in other American cities by being a consultant to chefs who attempt to recreate this deep dish variation. From Las Vegas to Brooklyn, people are beginning to recognize and to crave the Motor City Square. Randazzo’s home base in the Detroit area is an inconspicuous take-out window in the suburb of Royal Oak: Palazzo Di Pizza.
The pizza, baked to order, takes about twenty-five minutes. You can call ahead or spend the time learning about Detroit-style pizza from the friendly counter staff. They’ll tell you that it is a thick, square relative of the East Coast Sicilian pan slice. There is enough cheese to enhance the toppings, and there is plenty of zesty sauce. Palazzo’s crust is rich without being greasy, and remains soft throughout. We think of it as a halfway point between the New York pan and the Chicago deep dish.
The greatest pleasure of Palazzo’s Detroit pizza is its brown ring of cheese baked onto the top of the outside crust, making that last bite of each slice a reward rather than merely an edible handle. Knowing that the corner pieces are the best part, Palazzo Di Pizza doesn’t bake large pies. Instead, they simply bake two small pies and call it a large, making every single slice a corner piece.
The menu includes classic pan pizza classic toppings, kooky California-style fusion, and Italian tradition. A double pepperoni puts pepperoni under the cheese — a Detroit tradition — and also places thicker, smaller “cup” pepperoni on top, yielding two different textures of pepperoni in every bite. The Margherita pizza isn’t much like the Neapolitan original, but is a Detroit-style pie with a slice of fresh tomato and fresh mozzarella atop a blanket of whole-milk mozzarella on the crust.
The pair of pies we ordered are a duo we’d get again, the freshness of a Margherita good balance for oilier pepperoni.