In our book, every month is pizza month – but officially, that honor goes to October. So, to celebrate, we turned to Cloverleaf Bar and Restaurant in Eastpointe. After all, they’re touted as the originators of the Detroit square pizza.
Owned by brother-sister team Jack and Marie Guerra, this spot’s been serving up pies for decades. “Our family’s history in the pizza-making business goes back all the way to 1946 in Detroit when our father, Gus Guerra, owned Buddy’s Rendezvous on Conant,” explains Marie. In 1953, dad sold Buddy’s to open Cloverleaf but held onto the recipe – and his penchant for making pizzas square. It’s the same recipe her family uses in the restaurant today.
Gus’s old-time recipe even earned Cloverleaf a spot in the Pizza Hall of Fame, an award given out by PMQ Pizza Magazine, the industry’s go-to publication. Cloverleaf received the award in June – cementing Cloverleaf’s role, Marie says, as a “pizza pioneer.” Marie, who worked at the restaurant from the time she was young and joined the pizza-making line as a teen, says part of pizza’s popularity is that it’s fun to make (and eat!) as a family.
While we can’t give you that amazing dough recipe, Marie dishes up this easy classic. Her top tips for better pizzas? Always preheat the oven (be patient; it’s key to getting a good crust), use quality ingredients, and let the kids help.
- 1 can (13.8 oz.) store-bought pizza dough, such as Pillsbury Pizza Crust
- 1 small can (about 4-5 oz.) pizza sauce, such as Dei Fratelli
- 3 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
- Sliced pepperoni (3.5 oz. package)
- Oregano (optional)
- Preheat oven to 400.
- Lightly grease a square pizza pan or rectangular 9-by-13-inch baking pan with cooking spray or vegetable oil.
- Then, pop open the pizza crust dough and evenly distribute it into the pan, pressing it out to the corners.
- Sprinkle oregano lightly on the pizza dough. (optional)
- Set on top of oven for about 5-7 minutes to warm.
- Bake dough for about 8 minutes in preheated oven, then remove from oven.
- Spread cheese evenly over the pizza crust and add pepperoni if desired.
- Splash pizza sauce on evenly. Cloverleaf normally slices its pizza into 8 pieces, so try to think of each piece as a little sandwich.
- Put in oven for 11 minutes, until cheese is melted and crust is golden brown, then remove from oven (step for adults).
- With spatula, lift pizza slightly to check bottom of the pizza for golden brown color. If too light, put it back in oven for 2-3 minutes more.
- Remove from oven, then remove from pizza pan and place onto cookie sheet for cutting.
- Cut it right down the middle and then horizontally for desired pizza slice size.
More about Cloverleaf Bar and Restaurant
Sink your teeth into the original Detroit square pizza: It’s thick-crusted and first slathered with cheese, then a layer of tomato sauce. And, of course, it’s square!
Address: 24443 Gratiot Ave., Eastpointe
Hours (subject to change): 11 a.m.-10 p.m. Monday-Tuesday, 11 a.m.-11 p.m. Wednesday-Thursday, 11 a.m.-midnight Friday-Saturday, 1-10 p.m. Sunday
Carryout/Delivery locations: 15670 E. 13 Mile Road, Roseville; 48932 Hayes Road, Macomb Township; 13411 15 Mile Road, Sterling Heights