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Detroit Pizza Pass Connects Fans With the Pie

Best Pizza City designation prompts new pizza-finding tool

By Kathy Gibbons

Buddy’s Rendezvous originated the square, crunchy, light pizza Detroit has become known for. || Courtesy of Visit Detroit

When Detroit came in first among the Best Pizza Cities in America for 2022 in a study by anytimeestimate.com, it was no surprise to those who already knew all about the city’s pizza scene.

Now Visit Detroit is celebrating Detroit’s premiere pizza rating with its recently rolled-out Detroit Pizza Pass. The digital pass is designed to help both locals and visitors explore the city pizzeria by pizzeria.

Detroit-style pizza is distinctive for its rectangular shape; crunchy, buttery crust; and oh-so-airy texture. Topped to the edges with cheese—often a thick layer of Wisconsin brick cheese—and dotted with dollops of rich tomato sauce, it was pioneered in the 1940s by a then-neighborhood bar called Buddy’s Rendevous. Versions can be found today at Buddy’s Pizza locations (19 in Michigan), Shield’s Restaurant Bar Pizzeria, and Loui’s Pizza in Hazel Park, among others.

Pizzzawala’s in Canton is among outlets participating in the Detroit Pizza Pass. || Photo by Sara Srinivasan, courtesy of Visit Detroit

“Detroit’s the Best Pizza City in the country not only because we have this style of pizza that is our own that is now capturing the imagination of diners throughout the country right now and for good reason—it’s delicious,” says Christopher Moyer, senior director of communications for Visit Detroit, explaining how the Detroit Pizza Pass came to be. “But you can get Chicago-style pizza here, you can get New York-style pizza here, Neapolitan style, and Greek-Style pizza. It’s a place that if you love pizza, you’ve got to be in Detroit.”

The idea behind the Detroit Pizza Pass is to help the public access the city’s and suburbs’ many pizza outlets. It’s not an app—just go to the Visit Detroit website to access it directly from your phone and have it delivered instantly via text and email. Detroit Pizza Pass participants can work toward prizes—the more places they try, the more points they earn.

Pizzerias can participate free and have the option to provide discounts via the passport. Those offering deals via the Detroit Pizza Pass include PizzaPapalis of Rivertown, Mike’s Pizza Bar, Shorty Bell’s, Buddy’s Pizza, Hockeytown Cafe, Bob’s Pizza Palace, Jolly Pumpkin Pizzeria & Brewery, Como’s Restaurant + Pizza, and Francesca’s Brick Oven Pizzeria.

“It’s been going great,” Moyer says. “We’re seeing a lot of signups and…heavy usage so far.”

The Detroit Pizza Pass is similar to Visit Detroit’s Detroit Brew Trail and Explore Detroit passes.