Tucson, AZ

New Pizza Joint Ready to Open in Tucson

Greyson F

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Grab yourself some Detroit-style pizza.Jason Leung/Unsplash

Officially announced several months ago, the Detroit-style pizza restaurant “Transplant Pizza” is now open and ready for business. Opened up by the team behind Serial Grillers, another favorite restaurant here in Tucson, Transplant Pizza aims at providing locals with a style born in Detroit, combined with a number of unique flavors traditionally sourced in the Southwest. 

While there are other pizza-style restaurants here in town, the Detroit-style offering is unique in Tucson. At first glance, it might come across simply as a pan pizza, or even a squared version of Chicago-style pizza, but there are some differences in a Detroit style of pizza that make it unique. 

First, the pan used to bake Detroit pizza in is not only rectangular, but the lip of the pan is wider than the base. Because there is no crust edge on the pizza and the cheese covers the entire pizza, as the cheese melts it will slide down the edge of the pizza (thanks to the angled pan), which gives the edges a crispy, cheesy crunch to the side. Additionally, the cheese is applied to the crust and then the sauce is placed over the cheese during the baking. With other styles of pizza where the cheese is on top of the sauce, the finished result may have some of the cheese oil remaining on top. However, in a Detroit-style pizza, because the cheese is applied directly to the crust the crust can absorb the oil produced by the cheese, which aids in offering additional flavoring for the crust without giving off the oily-top layer common with other styles. 

The Detroit-style of pizza was born in Detroit manufacturing plants and the original pan was a spare automotive drip pan. While pizza makers no longer use automotive drip pans for baking, the shape and material remain the same. 

The cheese profile in Transplant Pizza will be slightly different from what traditional Detroit-style uses, which generally calls for a Wisconsin brick cheese. As the brick cheese is difficult to come by here in Tucson, the cheese profile is similar to what you might find in other pizza restaurants.

Located at 4603 East Speedway Blvd, the restaurant is located right next to Craft, A Modern Drinkery (which is also owned and operated by the Serial Grillers team). This way, you can stop at one or the other and still order from either menu. However, the Transplant Pizza joint does bring with it ample outdoor seating, as well as a number of small outdoor games, which makes it perfect for date nights, family outings, or simply when you want to try a delicious pizza style. Best of all, because the pizza is thicker, it’s easier to become full off of just a few slices, which means more leftover pizza to take home with you. 

You will find more than pizza at the restaurant though. There will be a number of pasta dish options if you’re feeling like a different kind of carb-forward meal. There will also be dessert-style pizzas, which deliver a cookie-meets-pie-meets dessert baked goods. So, if you want to try a style of pizza you may not have had before (the Detroit-style of pizza has grown in popularity, but outside of Michigan it’s still a style that doesn’t have as much of an established profile, especially when compared to a Chicago pizza from its Lake Michigan neighbors). The finishing touches are being put together right now, and the restaurant should be more than ready for your next pizza night, game night, or night where you just want a hearty slice of ‘za.

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