The pop-up pizza kitchen is now open in the Baltic
Detroit has many strings to its bow - Motown, the Ford Model T, the Detroit Lions and Eminem. But have you ever tried Detroit-style pizza?
Detroit pizza is basically a backwards pizza. It originated from motor city Detroit and they’d use the old trays to cook pizza in.
From the team behind Invisiburger - the kitchen smashing out gourmet fast food at the Invisible Wind Factory - comes ‘Hot Mess’. And it’s exactly that, but in the best kind of oozy, cheesy, all over your face, way.
Mike Bennett, co-founder of Invisiburger and the new pop-up pizza kitchen says opening in the Botanical Garden was an opportunity too good to miss out on.
“It was one of those opportunities that just arose and you’ve got to grab it with both hands,” Mike told Confidentials when we popped down on launch day.
“We were originally coming here to bring Invisiburger, and they were like - well, we want pizza!
“There’s tonnes of pizza going round the city but we thought, what’s not here? And it was Detroit. So we jumped on it. And from the feedback people have been giving us we’re doing it well.
“Everyone thinks that you’ve got to put your heart into something to make it work but really if an opportunity comes you put your heart into that opportunity. You get hungry for it then. It starts becoming really enjoyable and it doesn’t matter if it's pizza or not - food is amazing.”
Detroit pizza is rectangular rather than round, a trait which comes from the motor industry. Steel trays were found all over the factories at the peak of Detroit’s car production and legend has it that this inspired bar-owner Gus Guerra to invent Sicilian-style pizza made in a rectangular mould. The result is a deep-pan pizza with a burnt caramelised crust.
Mike said, “Detroit pizza is basically a backwards pizza. It originated from motor city Detroit and they’d use the old trays to cook pizza in from where they were building the cars. So that’s where the deep pan element comes from. And then you cheese that up and the sauce goes on top and you have chilli honey as a dip.”
Pizzas on the Hot Mess menu include SaltNPeppa (Scouse and pepper chicken, pepper and onion salsa, lime and coriander mayo), Horny Onion (goat’s cheese, caramelised onion, cracked black pepper) and the signature Hot Mess (margo loaded with pepperoni, fresh jalapenos and chilli honey.) Pick your dipping sauce and add on sides; soy and honey halloumi, jalapeno and mango bites, or Bombay frickles.
Mike said, “Pizza is pizza but with Detroit pizza it’s a bit more ritualistic. There’s a bit more to it, especially when there’s dips involved. That’s where Hot Mess comes in. It’s a hot mess that you’ve got there! So it all ties together.”
Hot Mess is now open at the Botanical Garden, a hidden gem in the Baltic Quarter that’s perfect for hanging out in the sunshine. Mike says that in October the kitchen will move to being an indoor pop-up in a location TBC.
“Hot Mess is here to stay but it will be in pop-up locations," said Mike.
"We’re open here seven days a week. As long as the weather’s showing, then we’re open. If it’s raining, we’re probably not open. It’s one of them - you’ve got to grab your chance!"
Hot Mess, Botanical Garden, 49 New Bird St, Liverpool L1 0DN
Read next: An insider’s guide to the Baltic Triangle
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