Hip To Be Square
While the gourmet pizza wave is yet to fully break on mainland China (we’re told it’s something to do with the humidity affecting the dough), the scene just got a welcome taste injection from Michigan-native Asher Gillespie and his Detroit-style pizza parlour Pie Squared.
Though lesser known than the fabled New York and Chicago slices, Motor City pizza developed its now signature square shape and chewy-thick, deep-dish crust courtesy of the industrial motor-parts trays in which they were baked back in the 1940s. Now, by way of this Shunyi shop, Beijingers can discover for themselves why these (more than) fair and square slices have pizza pilgrims purring.
According to Gillespie, the shape isn’t the only defining feature of his Detroit-style pies. Homemade marinara sauce is spooned over the base in rows (instead of spread all over) to create an intentionally uneven coverage, thereby making each bite different, plus mozzarella is spread right to the edge of each pan so it caramelises in a crust at the rim.
In addition to specialty toppings like Chicken Alfredo, BLT, and Meat Lovers, Pie Squared also serves up Italian-American strombolis (pizza pockets with pepperoni, ham and cheese), chewy mozzarella breadsticks with dipping sauces, salads and pastas. Add in a traditional grey, red and pale-wood parlour interior, and you’d swear you were back in D-town.