Authentic Detroit-style pizza. Yes, it’s a thing. I was recently introduced to it
by way of via a new food trailer on East 6th called Via 313. It’s a black trailer parked in front of the Violet Crown Social Club and across the street from quite a few other food trucks. It’s run by two brothers (Brandon & Zane) out of Detroit who couldn’t find good pizza in Austin. Well they know how to make some mean “Detroit-style pizza”, or as they know it, “pizza”.
I was a little wary at first simply because I have my favorite pizza in Austin and it’s nothing like what Via 313 is serving up. No, in fact my favorite pizza is thin, charred crust with modest amounts of cheese, and well-placed, not-overdone toppings. Really it’s an exercise in moderation and balance that makes it so good. In contrast, what Via 313 does is serves you up a thick, hearty (but not heavy) pizza busting at the seams with cheese and toppings. And yet, somehow, it’s still balanced.
So a quick lesson in Detroit-style pizza is that the crust is thick and airy “like foccacia” (as described by the boss). It’s put into a special, Detroit-made square baking pan and then topped with whatever you ordered. The trick is to cover it in cheese and then press the cheese all the way to the edges and into the corners. This makes sure it gets semi-burnt and highly delicious. Via 313’s secret is in the cheese blend. We chatted for awhile and he was hesitant to even show the cheese blend and had no intention of sharing the actual mixture. Same goes for the dough. It’s all very hush hush, as well it should be, because this stuff is good.
I was treated to the Hawaiian, which at the time was an off-the-menu special. It’s a powerhouse of bacon, ham, pineapple rings, cheese, and sauce built in the baking pan on top of the dough. A word about the bacon. These aren’t your usual (read: pathetic) bacon bits. These are full strips lined up against each other to create a full layer of bacon. It’s like a sheet of bacon. And forget what you know about pineapple on a pizza, like those little fruit salad pieces. These are full slices of pineapple rounds. Layer on the cheese and sauce and you’re in business.
Although I didn’t participate in the
coronary- saliva-inducing Carnivore, I did snap a picture of this behemoth. Forgive the quality of the picture, but what you’re looking at is cheese, pepporoni, natural casing pepperoni (yes, that’s two kinds), ham, sausage, and bacon. Boom. (That was the sound of your heart)
The big takeaway (other than a very full stomach) is that it is possible to stir things up and make a splash. These brothers know what they’re doing and are on the front of the wave. There’s nothing else like this in Austin. I have a feeling Detroit-style pizza is going to be around for awhile, so why not get yourself familiar with it now?