These specialty pizzas defy tradition.
Area chefs have crafted new looks and new flavors for different kinds of pizza—a food favorite since the 1880s.
There’s much more to the modern-day pie than red sauce on a piece of flattened, plain crust. Dough now has flavors of its own, such as basil or garlic, and sauces aren’t limited to a tomato-base. And the only items off limits for toppings are ones that aren’t in the kitchen.
Bay City’s newest pizzeria, The Pizza Factory, invites guests to come up to the counter and choose toppings ranging from mango to goat cheese, while Tiffany’s Food & Spirits in Frankenmuth offers diners numerous varieties of pasta combinations to put on top of their pizzas.
Innovative pizza bakers admit to being a little worried about how changing up the classic pepperoni pie would go over with crowds at first—but once guests tried a variety of unique combinations they were hooked. Or, as Kevin Novellino, owner of Brooklyn Boyz, notes, “People are getting more adventurous.”
Are you looking for a pizza adventure of your own?
May we suggest …
This spring, staff at G’s Pizzeria decided it was time to change the menu, offering several new choices for customers, including one that is guaranteed to add some spice to lunch or dinner.
The Spicy Meatball Pizza is homemade from top to bottom. G’s homemade marinara sauce covers the crust, spicy meatballs make up the next layer, and giardiniera—an Italian relish of hot peppers such as jalapeño and an assortment of vegetables—is sprinkled on top. “There’s a pretty good kick on this pizza,” says manager Chris Galea.
G’s Pizzeria, 3823 Bay Rd, Saginaw Township, 989-401-4774,
and 1005 Saginaw St, Bay City, 989-891-9400,
Chicken, Bacon, and Ranch
B & C Pizza is famous for its Chicago-style pie, always loaded with tons of cheese and toppings. Now, co-owner Scott Satek has come up with something different for the long-time favorite eatery.
The Chicken, Bacon, and Ranch Pizza combines tender chicken, crispy bacon, and gooey cheese on lightly buttered dough, accompanied by a side of creamy ranch dressing for dipping. Currently only offered in the food court at Fashion Square Mall in Saginaw Township, this pizza will soon be making its way to the two Bay City locations. Plus, says co-owner Sherry Korthals, pizza crust can be ordered gluten free.
B & C Pizza, Fashion Square Mall, Saginaw Township,
Chicken Alfredo or Italian Veggie
Vegetarians and meat lovers alike can tempt their taste buds at The Cabin in Mount Pleasant. Meat-lovers often choose the Chicken Alfredo Pizza, a combination of chicken, spinach, bacon, Alfredo sauce, and mozzarella cheese.
For those who are strictly vegetarian, manager Dave Skinner says the Italian Veggie is the crowd favorite, featuring a crust covered in spinach, artichokes, black olives, Roma tomatoes, and feta cheese, and then sprinkled with a blend of mozzarella, provolone, and Parmesan cheeses. The ingredients are all piled high on top of the restaurant’s hand-tossed crust, which is thin in the middle and thick on the edges.
The Cabin, 930 W Bloomfield, Mt Pleasant,
California White Ranch
“Hands down, the California White Ranch Pizza is the crowd favorite here,” says Jennifer Fischer, manager at Pisanello’s Pizza. Instead of a red sauce, ranch dressing—combined with a blend of mozzarella, provolone, and two secret cheeses—covers a hand-tossed crust. Next, chicken, broccoli, and almonds are added, and the pizza is baked to a golden brown.
The popularity of this creation came as a surprise to Fisher. “I didn’t know how it would go over in this area,” she explains. “People tried it and loved it.”
Pisanello’s Pizza, 110 N Main St, Mt Pleasant,
Creating your own pizza is limited only by your imagination at Tiffany’s Food & Spirits in Frankenmuth. Home of the original PastaPitza, which line cook Jason Kribs highly recommends to all pizza lovers, a 12-inch hand-tossed crust can be covered with a delectable combination of ingredients typically found in classic pasta dishes.
Options for the PastaPitza include fettucine Alfredo, lasagna, chicken portabella Marsala, or tortellini marinara layered on a 12-inch hand-tossed, flaky crust.
Plus, says Kribs, diners are welcome to add anything else for an even more personalized pizza.
Tiffany’s Food & Spirits, 656 S Main St, Frankenmuth,
The staff at T. Dub’s in Frankenmuth knows how to make a good pizza. Each pie begins with a choice of original basil, garlic, or beer crust. Connoisseurs then pick a combination option from names synonymous with Michigan, including Model T, Motor City, Euchre Hand, Black Label, and Tornado Warning.
But, says Janelle Baser, a server at the restaurant, those just wading into the specialty pizza pool might want to try the Harbormaster.
Ranging in size from 12 to 20 inches, with thick or thin crust, this pizza begins with a base of red sauce and is then topped with chicken, homemade barbecue sauce, caramelized onions, and smoked bacon, plus provolone, mozzarella, and Parmesan cheeses.
T Dub’s, 565 S Main St, Frankenmuth,
With over 30 toppings and four different kinds of sauces, owner Kevin Novellino explains coming up with a one-of-a-kind pizza isn’t hard at Bay City’s Brooklyn Boyz. The hard part, he says, is picking only one.
When put on the spot, Novellino says he would go with the White Pie Pizza, which doesn’t contain any kind of red sauce. Instead, this pizza offers a blend of mozzarella, ricotta, and Parmesan cheeses, fresh garlic in a creamy sauce, spinach, and broccoli.
“The Bay City market is getting more adventurous,” Novellino says, adding that the pizzeria now offers 14 artisan pies.
Brooklyn Boyz Pizzeria & Italian Eatery, 507 E Midland St, Bay City,
The Pizza Factory has given a whole new meaning to the question “What would you like on your pizza?”
While pizza orders can be called in or placed online, the fun, says owner Laura Marinack, is coming in and choosing from four different sauces, six different cheeses, and 22 topping items, salad-bar style. “One guy comes in and puts everything on,” she adds.
Options include things that don’t necessarily come to mind when thinking about pizza—cucumbers, mangos, kale, goat cheese, and artichoke hearts sit side-by-side traditional toppings such as pepperoni, sun dried tomatoes, garlic, and olives.
The Pizza Factory, 101 Salzburg Ave, Bay City,
Barbecue Chicken and Vegetarian Special
“It seems to have become a fan favorite,” says Gus Wojda, manager of Pizza Sam’s, of the Barbecue Chicken Pizza. “Once people try it, they get it time and time again.” Beginning with a base of barbecue sauce instead of marinara, this pie is finished with chicken, onions, green peppers, bacon, and cheddar cheese.
Vegetarians haven’t been forgotten, though. Check out the Vegetarian Special, too, with an olive oil base, stir-fry vegetables, mushrooms, onions, and sliced tomatoes.
Pizza Sam’s, 102 W Main St, Midland,
Photos By Doug Julian