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Justin Talbot

Saveur Seeking: Via 313 Detroit Style Pizza

New York, Chicago, Detroit? Who knew the Motor City has it's own style of pizza and it's being served up right out of a little trailer on Austin's east side.
Justin Talbot

When you think about pizza the first things that often come to mind are the many styles based on the places where they originated. New York is known for its large, thin-crusted pizzas while Chicago lays claim to the deep-dish pizza. One American city with its very own style of pizza is Detroit. I never knew that Detroit had its own distinctive style of pizza (and apparently neither do many people from Detroit) until I heard about one of the newest additions to the Austin food trailer scene, Via 313 Detroit Style Pizza. Opened by two Detroit natives Via 313 specializes in this little known style of pizza. So what exactly is Detroit style pizza?

According to Brandon Hunt, co-owner of VIA 313, Detroit style pizza is all about the pan. Actually, calling it a pan is not fully accurate, since most makers of Detroit style pizza use automotive parts trays, an appropriate way to honor the Motor City. Baking the pizza in the tray is what gives the pizza its square shape and an appearance similar to deep dish and Sicilian style.

When I first saw and tasted Via 313’s Detroit style pizza the first comparable food that came to mind was Sicilian pizza. That being said, there are many differences between the two styles of pizzas. The dough itself is light and airy (think Focaccia bread) compared to Chicago and Sicilian styles, which are usually heavy. There is also the cheese. Via 313 uses a signature (AKA secret) blend of two types of cheese, one of which is spread along the sides of the dough while the other is used in the middle. Cooking the cheese along the side of the pan essentially causes it to caramelize and become crispy, creating a crust made of cheese.

If the cheesiness isn’t enough to sell you on Detroit style pizza, there are also the toppings. Different toppings are often layered on to the pizza. In the case of Via 313’s Carnivore, a meaty beast of a pizza, Brandon added pepperoni, ham, and sausage. He then added a thick layer of cheese and topped that off with whole bacon strips and another layer of pepperoni. If you’re a meat lover it doesn’t get much better than that.

Finally the pizza is baked in an oven at 525 degrees for about 15 minutes. The last step before serving it up is topping it with a special tomato sauce. Don’t try to get the recipe because true pizza maker’s hold on to this stuff like treasure maps.

Detroit style pizza may not be as well known as New York and Chicago styles, but it definitely deserves it’s own stake in the pizza hall of fame. With places like Via 313 popping up around the county and spreading the word by serving up delicious Detroit style pizza, it’s only a matter of time before people all over are chowing down on this doughy delicacy.

Via 313 is located at 1111 E. 6th St. in front of the Violet Crown Social Club. Visit their WEBSITE for the menu, hours, and more!

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