When University of Michigan alum Kris Gullapalli moved to Massachusetts seven years ago with her husband, a Detroit native, they couldn’t find the Detroit-style pizza they’d come to love back in Michigan. Like Neapolitan, Chicago deep dish, or even South Shore bar pizza, Detroit-style pies have their own fervent following of fans who seek out the thick squares of airy dough sporting a cheesy, crispy crust.
So they decided to open a pizzeria dedicated to Detroit-style pizzeria themselves: Square Mfg. Co. debuts Friday at 4 p.m. for a soft opening throughout the weekend before it officially opens on Wednesday. Housed in a former Pizza Hut in Natick, the space will offer pizzas for pick-up only, with delivery to come later.
This isn’t Gullapalli’s first foray into owning a pizzeria; she and her husband used to own Lisa’s Pizzeria in Woburn. But they’d always toyed with the idea of opening a Detroit-style pizza shop, and when the pandemic hit, Gullapalli said they felt like “now was a really great opportunity to execute it.”
So what are the markers of Detroit-style pizza? Assembling the pie requires an unusual ordering of ingredients: first dough, then cheese, then sauce.
“Our dough is made from scratch, and we let it rise overnight,” Gullapalli explained. “We use a special rectangular pan. The dough rises in that pan, and what that does is it allows us to spread the cheese all the way to the corner, which gives us this really great cheesy, crispy crust that you don’t find anywhere else. We’re a form of deep dish, but we’re just a little lighter and airier than what you think of a Chicago-style deep dish. It’s got that cheesy, crispy, crunchy crust, but then a chewy, airy middle with a crunchy bottom.”
In order to nail down the Detroit style, Gullapalli said she sent Square’s general manager, Andrew Noakes, to seven different pizza destinations in Detroit, including the famed Buddy’s Pizza. They also partnered with Shawn Randazzo from Detroit Style Pizza Co. to develop recipes.
Diners will be able to choose from set pizzas creations, like the Cacciatore or Shrimp N Grits, or customize their own pizzas from a list of toppings that range from pepperoncini and fennel sausage to roasted garlic and marinated steak. Gullapalli already has her favorites: the Suparoni, made with cupping pepperoni, pepperoncinis, peppadews, and hot honey drizzle; and the Beef and Broccoli, a mashup featuring marinated steak, broccoli, Vidalia onions, ginger soy drizzle, and sesame seeds (“I like to justify that I’m getting some vegetables in,” she said). Chicken wings, bread sticks, and salads round out the rest of the menu, with a double chocolate chip cookie listed as a dessert.
Square Mfg. Co., whose name is a nod to Detroit’s manufacturing industry, will be in soft open Dec. 4 to Dec. 6 from 4 to 9 p.m. After closing on Dec. 7 and 8, it will officially open on Dec. 9, operating from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily.
“We’re super excited to be bringing a little bit of where we grew up to where we live now,” Gullapalli said.
Square Mfg. Co.; 935 Worcester St., Natick; soft open Dec. 4–Dec. 6 from 4 to 9 p.m., open daily from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. starting Dec. 9; squaremfg.co
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