Now that I have kids of my own, I've been wanting to do the same with them, but I haven't found a Pizza Hut who offers the tours. Then a friend told me about Detroit Style Pizza Company.
It didn't take me long to arrange a tour, along with a few friends of course, and off we were, learning all about Detroit-style pizza.
Chef Shawn Randazzo begins the tour by discussing the history of pizza making in the Detroit area. Did you know that in the 1940s automotive workers would make pizza using industrial trays that they would bring home from the factory? That's how the pizza dough ends up with a cripsy, yet chewy, crust. Crazy, right?
You also learn that most of the local chefs that serve Detroit-style pizza can all trace their roots back to Buddy's Pizza, where most began their pizza making journey.
I'll be honest, I didn't think there was much of a history to Detroit-style pizza, but I was wrong and it was fascinating. Not just to me either, but our group of kids, ranging from 3-11 years old, thought so too.
After the history lesson, the kids were able to go into the kitchen to see a few of the items that are used to make the dough. Detroit Style Pizza Co uses one machine to do a lot of the prep work; the machine that makes the dough can also shred the cheese, chop veggies, and a lot more. I really want, no let's be honest, I need one in my kitchen. *grin*
After checking out the tour, the kids then got a lesson on how to fold the pizza boxes. Then came the race - who could fold a box the fastest. With a practice round and two timed trials, all the kids really got into it and even improved their second time around. The kids didn't even care that there were prizes for the fastest three, or at least not overly so, they were having a blast folding the boxes and cheering each other on.
When my son heard this, he got really excited. He's the only one in our family who likes black olives on his pizza and he couldn't wait to smother his with them. *grin* It was also amusing watching all the kids carefully selecting their toppings and placing everything with deliberate precision.
This was about the time we learned that Detroit-style pizza has one big difference from what we all knew - the sauce goes on top of everything AND after it's done baking. That's not the only thing that is added after it comes out of the oven either. According to Chef Randazzo, and it is becoming a trend, a lot of ingredients are tastier on a pizza when their fresh and not baked under the cheese. Some toppings make sense - spinach and lettuce for sure - but black olives and onions, I would never have thought of adding them last.
I have to say, with 15 pizza makers lined up, I was really surprised by how much time Chef Randazzo allowed each kid to create their pizza masterpieces. We were never rushed and each kid was given plenty of individualized attention.
Of course this means there was a little downtime for everyone as people were making their pizzas; but Detroit Style Pizza Co. had it covered. Once you were done, you had the option of playing with pizza dough. Oh my word...they loved playing in the pizza dough.
"Look Mom! I'm Clayface!"
Yes, playing with pizza dough is quite messy, as my son proved by not coating his hands with the provided oil.
Once all was said and done, everyone had a fabulous time and sat down to enjoy their own pizza. Most of us took home leftovers, which made the kids happy since they all declared that Detroit-style pizza was THE BEST PIZZA EVER!
If you're looking for a fun and educational lunch option, I would totally recommend doing your own tour of with Detroit Style Pizza Co.
The ideal group size for the tour is 5 to 30 people, including adults. Tours must be scheduled at least a week in advance and are held between 9 a.m. and noon Saturdays and Sundays as well as from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. on non-school weekdays, subject to availability. The fee for the tour is $10 per person making their own Detroit Style pizza.You can find more information about scheduling your own tour of Detroit Style Pizza Co here: http://detroitstylepizza.co/kid-tours/
If you do find your way to Detroit Style Pizza Co, make sure you take a look at the artwork in the dining room. Just as Detroit Style Pizza Co is a family-owned business, the artwork was also done by a member of the family and it is simply fabulous. Of course, that's just my opinion; you'll have to tell me your thoughts after you take your own visit.