Detroit cooks up a comeback with its signature pizza

You know about Chicago's deep dish and New York's Neapolitan, but when it comes to pizza, the hippest variety is from Detroit.

It's a flipped version of the pizza you might know.

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"Dough, meat, cheese, then sauce - and that gives it the distinction, the red stripe," said a cook at Buddy's Pizza in Detroit.

That's a red top with blue collar roots. At Buddy's, Detroiters have been eating it their whole lives.

"Homegrown stuff you know? Homegrown people," said one customer.

According to legend, Buddy's was first a speakeasy. But in 1946, Gus Guerra made a pie here. He used tomato basil red sauce from Sicily and baked it in square pans first used by auto workers to hold nuts, bolts and car parts. That gives Detroit-style pizza an extra crunchy crust, in addition to that racy red top.

It's been around for decades, but it's still "hitting its stride," said Wesley Pikula, who started as a dishwater at Buddy's 41 years ago. Today, he's the vice president of operations.

"I think we still have pans that have been here for 80 years," Pikula said, laughing. "You always hear about Chicago, you always hear about New York. I'm like, 'Wait a second - we've got something to offer."'

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Detroit pizza's big moment is a welcome development for famed food critic Sylvia Rector. "Everything here has been touched by the auto industry," Rector said.

Rector said it only makes sense: Immigrants who rolled in to work on booming assembly lines also reworked food basics.

"Everybody embraces everybody else's food, because that's what you do with food, you know?" Rector said. "It's a cultural currency that-- that everybody understands."

The type of pizzas made in Detroit's Italian households inspired imitations: Little Caesar's first commercialized square pies. Now, suddenly, it's hip for pizza to hail from Detroit, including in hip central Brooklyn, New York.

Emily and Matt Hyland own Emily, where they make a thin pie easily recognizable to fellow New Yorkers. Their next pizzeria, however, will be Detroit style, although they're not from there.

"We are New Yorkers who love all kinds of pizza," Emily said. "We are inclusive pizza eaters."

The art of pizza boxes

"Pizza is pretty universal. It just sort of turns out that we really liked this style of pizza. It really spoke to us," Matt said.

"New Yorkers also really appreciate very high quality food products, and that's above all what we are trying to make, whether that's square or round," Emily said.

Detroit is on the way back, thanks to a pizza that never left.

"You know, this is a very resilient place," Rector said. "People, individuals are working together, pulling themselves up by their bootstraps. It's sort of a ground-up, resurrection of not just the city, but the food scene here."