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a neapolitan pizza with mozzarella, red sauce, and fresh basil leaves in the center

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Inside PizzaPlex, a Neighborhood Pizzeria in Southwest Detroit

Take a peek at the restaurant during Open Street’s Sunday afternoon rush

Brenna Houck is a Cities Manager for the Eater network. She previously edited Eater Detroit and reported for Eater. You can follow her on the internet at @brennahouck.

It wasn’t too long ago that finding a traditional, Neapolitan-style pizza in Detroit was a challenge. Thankfully, that’s no longer the case. As the city, and the greater metro area’s restaurant scene has grown over the past several years, so too have the number of pizzerias boasting Italian ovens and thinner, more authentically Italian slices.

PizzaPlex in Southwest Detroit, is the latest restaurant to open with this format. The restaurant, bar, and coffee shop serves real, bonafide Neapolitan pizzas, having gone through mentorship and consultation with the founder of Naples, Italy’s Scuola di Pizzaiolo (pizza school).

Located off of West Vernor Highway on the same block as the under construction Flowers of Vietnam, PizzaPlex is an understated spot for a meal. The main restaurant space features a small amount of bar seating and several blue booths. Each of the booths is cast with purple light emitted from basil plant installations — part decoration, part functional pizza ingredient. Past the counter and bar area, patrons will find a projector screen frequently displaying old movies or the current Lions game. The space also features a Naples-inspired mural by artists Freddy Diaz and Eduardo Gonzalez.

It’s the food, however, that’s the real star. The chewy-crusted, 12-inch pizzas are topped with simple quality ingredients such as porcini or salty pancetta and topped with melty mozzarella cheese. The restaurant also prepares sandwiches made with similar dough and ingredients. With pies rarely topping $8, the menu is also shockingly affordable. PizzaPlex’s bar serves everything from wine to cocktails to espresso shots, while providing wine and beer for retail purchase.

On Sunday afternoon, sections of West Vernor Highway in front of PizzaPlex down to Michigan Avenue in Corktown were closed to traffic for an increasingly popular called Open Streets. Photographers Chris and Michelle Gerard stopped by to scope out the scene. Throughout the day, the restaurant kept its ovens hot feeding a mixture of hungry neighbors and visitors exploring the area. Scope out the scene on October 1 in the gallery below.

PizzaPlex Website [Official]
Neapolitan Pizzeria Debuts in Southwest Detroit on September 9 [ED]
Southwest Detroit Gains Neapolitan Pizzeria, Espresso Bar in May [ED]
All Eater Scenes Coverage [ED]


4458 Vernor Highway, , MI 48209 (313) 757-4992 Visit Website

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