Friday, December 30, 2016

Morgantown Edition: Lefty's Place

Leftys PlaceYou've heard of New York-style pizza (thin, flat slices) and Chicago-style pizza (deep, layered toppings), but what about Detroit-style pizza?
New York pizza is known for thin, crispy crust topped with a thin layer of tomato sauce, cheese and assorted toppings. Deep dish Chicago style pizza features a thick crust with an inch-deep smothering of tomato sauce, cheese and toppings (source).
Leftys PlaceSo, a new pizza place, Lefty's Place, opened up in Morgantown serving up Detroit-style pizza. Detroit-style pizza is a square or rectangular pizza that is baked in steel pans, with pepperoni, then cheese that is spread to the edges so it caramelizes against the pan and topped with sauce. The crust has a fried texture but light and chewy on the inside.

Lefty's is located on Walnut Street in the former Soul Brothers location. In addition to the Detroit-style pizza, they offer wings, salads and sides like mozzarella logs, pigs in a blanket, pepperoni rolls, chicken tenders, fries and breadsticks.
Detroit-style pizza is a style of pizza developed in Detroit, Michigan. It is a square pizza that has a thick deep-dish crisp crust and toppings such as pepperoni and mushrooms, and is generally served with sauce on top of the cheese. The square shaped pizza is the result of being baked in a square pan, which is often not a pizza pan. Rather, industrial parts trays are often used, which were originally made to hold small parts in factories.
The crust of a Detroit-style pizza is occasionally twice-baked, and it is usually baked in a well-oiled pan to a chewy medium-well-done state that gives the bottom and edges of the crust a fried or crunchy texture. Some parlors will apply melted butter with a soft brush prior to baking. The resulting pizza has a chewy texture (wikipedia).
Leftys Place

The origins of "Detroit-style" pizza can be traced back historically to Buddy's Rendezvous in 1946, which later became Buddy's Pizza. Over the next several decades, the chain grew and developed, cooks moved on, and in some cases they opened their own pizzerias. Cloverleaf, which was later founded by Gus Guerra as an Italian restaurant in Eastpointe, serves Detroit Style Pan Pizza as does Luigi's "the Original", the Shield's Pizza chain, and Loui's Pizza in Hazel Park. In 2009, both Buddy's Detroit-style square pizza and Luigi's "the Original" of Harrison Township, Mich were singled out as two of the 25 best pizzas in America by GQ magazine food critic, Alan Richman
Niki's in Greektown, Buddys, Cloverleaf, Jet's in Sterling Heights, G. Willie's in St. Clair Shores, Papa Bella's in Ortonville, Green Lantern in Madison Heights, The Gathering Place & Marinelli's in Troy, and Detroit Style Pizza Company are among Detroit's specialty pizzerias with deep dish pizza and or Detroit-style pizza in Southeast Michigan. The pizza at these restaurants is square or rectangular, with a thick crispy crust. Other restaurants that serve square specialty pizzas, similar to Detroit style, but more closely related to Sicilian style include Benito's Pizza, Cottage Inn, and Alibi in Troy (only offered in round however, making it a questionable member of the Detroit-Style market). In April 2013, Detroit-based Little Caesars launched the first Detroit-style deep dish pizza that is available nationwide; and also offered a version edging its crust with bacon.
So, I stopped in the other day to see an empty restaurant. They're doing a soft opening right now while students are away so they have time to work out all the kinks. Smart. The space has a few tables up front, booths along the wall and a bar on the other side of the counter.

Leftys PlaceAnd, I placed an order for a cheese pizza with mushrooms, and after about 10 minutes, it was ready to go. The pizza is cut into four good-sized rectangles, and, as promised, the sauce was on top. I'm not going to lie, it's definitely a bit greasy. But oh. my. god.

It's definitely thicker than flat New York-style, but it's not casserole-style like Chicago. The crust has a nice crisp on the bottom, but it's deliciously chewy inside. The crust is perfect. And, because mine had the cheese directly beside the crust, it was almost like I was eating a cheesy breadstick dipped in marinara. The sauce has a good blend of spice and sweet, and the cheese was perfectly melty.

Leftys PlaceLook, I know you're skeptical. And I know you're probably like -- what does that random girl who has typos in all her blog posts even know anyway? Well, I've had a lot of pizza, and this is damn good. Best in Morgantown? Yeah, maybe. I think it depends on what type you're in the mood for, and there's nothing quite like this. It's made a believer out of me.

Leftys Place
Grade: A
Lefty's Place Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato