Detroit, Naples or New York style? Lucy Milburn rounds up the aces of bases
It’s National Pizza Day, a good excuse to grab a slice. Although why shouldn’t every day be dedicated to pizza?
Whether a culinary adventure in square, vegan or booze-soaked form or the ultimate, carby cuddle of the classic cheese and tomato. Lockdown has given us a renewed appreciation for those humble discs of dough - the perfect pick-me-up delivered straight to your door. Forget Valentine’s Day, a slice is the only love triangle we want.
Previously relegated to high-street chains and late-night takeaways, the past few years have seen the rise and rise of the indie pizzeria. The latest buzz is to shun the classic round pie in favour of a square, Detroit style, with a crispy cheese ‘crown’.
From Detroit style upstarts to cult Neapolitans and thin n’ crispy New York disruptors, Manchester covers every base. Here are our top ten.
Arguably one of Manchester's best-kept carby secrets; this family-run pizzeria has a strong crust game. A ‘leopard cornicione’, to the uninitiated, is named for those beautiful blackened spots that mark a top-tier pizza. Located on the edge of the Northern Quarter, Ciaooo has amassed a legion of loyal fans with its experimental specials and whole balls of oozing burrata. These pizzaioli are not afraid to slather a base in jalapeno cream or luminous pumpkin puree and we’re here for it.
Turns out we’ve not been the only ones powering through the past year with pizza on the mind. From a light-bulb moment in lockdown to opening up a Failsworth shop in a matter of months, Corner Slice MCR is a purveyor of the Detroit style, pinching the best bits from both the Italian and American tradition. Baked in a dish to form a fluffy, deep-pan dough, fresh toppings – think n’duja and fennel salami – are added to compliment the caramelized cheese climbing up the edges. Now offering delivery, it’s easy to square up to this new trend.
Just the thought of Pedro’s makes us pine for bars, booze and a buzzing social calendar. With venues on Short Street and Bridge Street, you go to Pedro’s for the party and stay for the pizza. Known for outrageous flavour combinations that’ll make pizza purists wince, their menu includes the likes of the KFC, the ‘world-famous’ hotdog pizza and the cheeseburger-inspired Mac Daddy. They recently launched a tequila-infused number in collaboration with Jose Cuervo – the latest in a long line of wacky specials. That’s about as crazy as life can get right now.
This suburban joint in Chorlton has always been popular, thanks to the laid back atmosphere and the fact that it's BYOB. Remember the days when supermarket booze was a fun alternative to ordering a pint? Now we're on the 'house wine' all the time. Thankfully, these sourdough pizzas still pack a punch from the comfort of your own sofa, if you’re lucky enough to live in their delivery radius. Another loyalist to the Neapolitan tradition, Double Zero delivers on chewy crusts and classic toppings, including buffalo mozzarella and mortadella.
While many of these places boast impressive plant-based options, new kid on the block, Four Side, has a menu that’s both creative and 100% vegan. Detroit-style is clearly having a moment in Manchester and with more people than ever turning to meat-free this year, this latest contender is covering all angles. Made with a 72-hour proved base, these pizzas are square and thick in the best possible way, topped with a selection of homemade vegan meats and cheeses.
Launching a food truck moments before a national lockdown could have been a recipe for disaster but this Eccles duo is currently cooking up a storm. Serving homemade pizza from the comfort of the owners' front garden, Lucky Mama’s is a hit with the neighbours and those, er, lucky enough to secure one of the coveted weekend delivery slots. The pizzas are as unique as the set-up – a perfect Neapolitan square, with dough prepared 48 hours in advance. For the full carb-fest, there’s also fresh pasta and dough balls straight from the trailer.
Ah, the pizza made famous by ‘Slicegate,’ the bizarre standoff between cops and Common over the ‘substantial’ nature of a pizza slice back when tiers were a thing. These aren’t your average slices – they come from huge 22 inch pies. Substantial meal? These pizzas could see you through breakfast, lunch and dinner. Nell’s is now flinging discs out of both Common’s kitchen and The Beagle in Chorlton. Taking inspiration from the land of all thing supersized, these New York style pizzas are thin and fully loaded, with a focus on ingredients from local suppliers like Lancashire cheese, Littelwood's ham and seasonal greens. The upside-down Margherita is a must-try, as are the vegan slices.
From the great minds behind The Pasta Factory, Noi Quattro is about as authentic as you can get. Owned by four Italian friends, they keep things simple with pillowy dough and quality ingredients – plus a couple of less familiar toppings. Fancy crispy roast potatoes on a pizza? Noi Quattro makes that double-carb dream a reality with their Avezzanese. Also available for delivery are Cuoppo, a classic Italian street food favourite served in a paper cone – if you close your eyes and taste the battered calamari, you can almost imagine we’re not in the throes of an international travel ban.
While the Northern Quarter is the beating heart of Manchester’s city centre pizza scene, Proove is West Didsbury’s taste of Naples. They’ve certainly proove-d themselves on the delivery front with an extensive menu including street food plates and brand-new vegan options for the full Italian spread. It’s a testament to Proove’s magic touch that it’s the humble Margherita that really sings, with quality fior di latte mozzarella and San Marzano D.O.P. tomatoes.
No whistle-stop tour of Manchester’s pizza offering would be complete without a shout out to the original indie. Rudy’s is the undisputed king of Neapolitan pizza inside the M60. An award-winning household name evangelised by local folk. From humble beginnings in Ancoats to six buzzing venues (and counting), not even a pandemic can dim its rising star. The secret? It’s just bloody good pizza. As well as delivering locally, the new ‘Bake at Home’ kits can be posted anywhere in the UK.
Follow Lucy Milburn on Twitter