Detroit-style pizza is having a moment in the spotlight, and it's not hard to see why. With its cheese that goes all the way to the edge, producing crispy edges that some believe are the best part of the pizza, it's no wonder that it's gaining popularity. But where can you find Detroit-style pizza in Central Virginia? We decided to find out by ordering three different versions from three different pizza chains and having a business lunch to deliberate on the best. The third place on our panel went to Motor City Pizza Co., but we think that if we had cooked it in an air fryer, the edges would have been crispier.
Little Caesars, the Detroit-based chain, came in second place. It had crispy edges, but it didn't have enough sauce and didn't give the pepperonis that crunchy touch that distinguished our winner. The winner was Pizza Hut. Despite not having Detroit roots, The Hut was the most authentic of the three, with a generous serving of sauce on top to protect the integrity of the dough itself.
So if you're looking for a Detroit-style pizza in Central Virginia, Pizza Hut is your best bet. But Central Virginia has plenty of other restaurants to explore as well. Julian's, an Italian restaurant that has been operating for 40 years, has moved to a larger location on West Broad Street. The restaurant has approximately 50 percent more space, with seating for about 200 people on the main floor and a cellar in the basement.
Private dining rooms have been established and there is office space on the upper floor. The Oak Leaf sandwich shop in West Franklin is owned by Paxton Campbell, whose grandmother Pearl Campbell owned a restaurant called The Oak Leaf at 307 North Boulevard in the 1920s. Firebirds Rocky Mountain Grill offers dishes like ancho chili strips, giant coconut shrimp, cheesecake with brule cream and Firebirds 2000 Napa Valley Red. Portabella's & Pizzaria serves prawns and scallops with linguine.
Valentino's Italian restaurant and pizzeria has been in the family since 1971 when Harrold III's grandfather opened it. Bistro R in W offers beef ribs with thyme crust served with asparagus flan and asparagus wrapped in prosciutto. The River City Diner was rebuilt by West Builders LLC after being flood-damaged. Thai restaurant on Staples Mill Road is owned by McGuire.
The Sixth Street Marketplace has several restaurants, although some are closed and an entire block of restaurants on the list have been demolished. Martini Kitchen & Bubble Bar will have 85 martinis on its menu as well as certified Black Angus beef, duck and lobster. Brio Tuscan Grille at Stony Point Fashion Park offers dishes like roasted red peppers, local goat cheese, roasted garlic and shallots served with grilled bread. Pasta Luna has two locations: one in the West End and one in Commonwealth Center at 288th and Hull Streets. The Oak Leaf sandwich shop in West Franklin is owned by Paxton Campbell. Cafe Mosaic employs Edward Martin who calls himself “The Drink Man” for his work filling jugs with water and other tasks related to drinking.
Texas-Wisconsin Border Café is located between two states that bear its name and is decorated with stuffed animals, soccer helmets and license plates. Dominic's of New York sells its sausage products in a selection of Ukrops while The Cheesecake Factory restaurant in Short Pump serves cheesecakes and desserts. Cafe' di Pagliacci is owned by Carolyn and Bob DeCapri while La Petite France is owned by Marie Antoinette Elbling who grew up on a farm near Thanville, Alsace. Finally, Acacia restaurant was rewarded by Watchful Waiter for its excellent service.