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What's the big dill? Where to find pickle pizza in Metro Detroit

Melody Baetens
The Detroit News

One of the more eye-popping food trends of the past few years has been pickles on pizza. 

It’s not that weird, really, when you think of everything else that pizzerias offer, from standard toppings like anchovies and pineapple to specialty pies that are decked with all kinds of creative ingredients and sauces. 

One of the best-selling pies at Johnny Z's Pizzeria in St. Clair Shores is pickle pizza.

A co-owner of Johnny Z's Pizzeria in St. Clair Shores, Michelle Robertson was initially surprised to hear pickle pizza was a thing. After researching and talking with their food supplier, they debuted a pickle pizza with cheese and pickles (no red sauce) and topped with a swirl of a light garlic sauce and fresh dill. 

"We put it on the menu because so many of our customers were asking about it," she said. "It's a pretty big seller. The first couple weeks it felt like every order had one on it. It's kind of slowed down since then but it's still maybe our third-most popular pizza." 

Slice of the 80's pizzeria in Westland and Livonia also does a pickle pizza with a "white sauce." 

"We started to see trends across the state — we keep up with all pizza trends — and then all the management and the owners, we love pickles, so we decided to give it a shot," said general manager William Miracle. Slice of the 80's added the pickle pizza about a year ago. "We've tried it with the red sauce, it just doesn't have the same kick. For some reason that creamy garlic really kind of blends with the pickles."

While some places do offer pickles as a topping for a standard red-sauce pizza, most sell it as a specialty item without tomato sauce. I'd consider it more of a cheese bread or appetizer to share. Obviously, it's a must for pickle fans, but garlic hounds and those who like salty and savory snacks should give it a try, too. 

Here's where to find pickle pizza in your neck of the woods.

Saucy Brew Works in Detroit has a Nashville chicken pizza with pickle slices.

Wayne County

Saucy Brew Works: Among the specialty round pizzas at this beer-centric spot just a few blocks from Comerica Park is the Nashville hot chicken pizza. It has hot crispy chicken, dill pickles, barbecue sauce and a smoked cheese mix. Tip: They offer buy-one-get-one-free small pizzas every Monday. 2671 John R, Detroit. (734) 926-8933. saucybrewworks.com/detroit-brewpub.

Shorty Bell’s Pizza Pies: A new carryout window in downtown Detroit, Shorty Bell’s is part of the new Beer Exchange bar and restaurant that recently opened. They sell round, 16-inch pizzas with a variety of gourmet toppings, including basil, green onion, honey, eggplant puree, grilled zucchini, smoked chicken, prosciutto de Parma and, yes, pickles. 1260 Washington, Detroit. (313) 502-5146. shortybellspizza.com.

Slice of the 80’s: This is a 1980s-themed pizzeria, so of course they have a fun menu with four-color cinnamon bread, radical toppings and bodacious specialty pizzas. One of them is the pickle pizza with mozzarella cheese and sliced pickles atop a white garlic pizza sauce. 34747 Warren, Westland. (734) 728-1980. 8998 Middlebelt, Livonia. (734) 266-1980. sliceofthe80s.com.

Mallie’s Sports Grill N Bar: If there’s something extreme going on in the food world, Mallie’s in Southgate is on board. They’ve got giant burgers, 2-pound tacos, stacked Bloody Marys and other wild menu items. Not surprisingly, they’ve got a dill pickle pizza on the menu (small or large) created with a house-made garlic gill sauce, mozzarella and parmesan and a ton of pickles. 19400 Northline, Southgate. (734) 287-0800. malliesgrill.com.

Detroit Pizza Factory: Variety and halal options are two highlights at this Dearborn Heights pizzeria. The  dill pickle pizza is on the specials menu and has mozzarella cheese, garlic herb sauce, dill pickles and dill.  They also have a seafood pizza with alfredo sauce, lobster and more. 8471 N. Telegraph, Dearborn Heights. (313) 278-3355. dpizzafactory.com.

Fairfax Market: The dill pickle pizza here has a garlic and olive oil base under the cheese and is topped with sliced pickles and fresh dill. You can also get an enchilada pizza at this neighborhood market with ground beef, jalapeño, enchilada sauce and finished with fresh cream cheese. 899 Beaconsfield, Grosse Pointe Park. (313) 822-7074. fairfax-market.business.site.

Pickle pizza with fresh dill and garlic sauce from J's Penalty Box in Ferndale.

Oakland County

J’s Penalty Box: A Ferndale sports bar with a nice, breezy dining room (thanks to garage doors in front, facing Woodward) and a huge menu, J’s offers a dill pickle pizza in small or large. It’s a classic version of this new trend, with garlic and olive oil base, thin crust and simply mozzarella cheese, pickles and fresh dill on top. They also serve burgers, large salads, chicken wings and a full pizza menu. 22726 Woodward, Ferndale. (248) 398-4070. jspenaltybox.com.

Chubby Charlies: Not only do they sell pickle pizza with melted cheese both under and on top of the sliced pickles, but Chubby Charlies is laying claim to being the home of the original pickle pizza. The three locations also sell a variety of pizza styles and sizes, plus cheese bread, wings, pasta, salads, stromboli, calzones, panini and “chubster” toasted sandwiches. 5899 Dixie Hwy., Clarkston. (248) 599-9444. 6672 Cooley, Waterford. (248) 242-4763. 30390 Utica, Roseville. (586) 200-3285. chubbycharlies.com.

Macomb County

Johnny Z’s Pizzeria: This family-owned pizza shop in St. Clair Shores offers pickles as a topping, along with their many other modifications like vegan cheese, gluten-free crust, flavored crust or customized baking time such as lightly done, well-done or “burnt.” 28210 Harper, St. Clair Shores. (586) 498-8800. johnnyzspizza.com.  

Stosh’s Pizza: A classic neighborhood pizza joint with carryout and delivery, Stosh’s serves round, hand-tossed and square pizzas, plus slices, pitas, salads, pasta and more. They have a dill pickle pizza on their specialty menu as well as a BLT pizza with mozzarella, bacon – and after baking – lettuce, tomato and mayo. 24312 Van Dyke, Centerline. (586) 757-6836. stoshspizza.com

Sherwood Brewing Co.: A favorite since 2006, Sherwood has a huge menu to compliment their selection of craft brews. They’ve got a garlic-y dill pickle pizza as well as dill pickle pizza rolls, which is a blend of cheeses and Maceri pickle chips rolled into dough and creamy pesto sauce for dipping. 45689 Hayes, Shelby Township. (586) 532-9669. sherwoodbrewing.com

Orleans Sports Café: Going beyond pickle and dill pizza, this sports bar has a cheeseburger pizza with pickles, plus round beef, onion, mozzarella and cheddar cheese and a house sauce. 100 Macomb Place, Mount Clemens. (586) 465-2201. orleanssportscafe.com.


Twitter: @melodybaetens