The long-anticipated downtown Detroit location of Buddy’s Pizza is confirmed. An tipster alerted Eater to building permits indicating that Buddy’s would fill the former Angelina Italian Bistro space at 1565 Broadway. The Detroit-style pizzeria’s lease with Bedrock was independently reported by Crain’s on Tuesday afternoon.
The Detroit Free Press previously reported that Buddy’s — the original Detroit-style pizzeria — was rumored to be in talks with Bedrock to takeover the M@dison Building space in April of 2018. In January of last year, the pizza chain announced plans to capitalize on the nation’s obsession with Detroit-style pizza by expanding beyond Michigan with help from private investment firm CapitalSpring. In June 2018, the restaurant group listed its original Conant Street restaurant building for $1.5 million. Representatives told Eater that the goal was to acquire a sale-leaseback agreement that would secure the Buddy’s location and help the company acquire funding for its expansion. Last fall, representatives for the investment firm registered a Buddy’s Downtown Detroit, LLC business entity with the state.
Buddy’s expects to spend roughly $2 million renovating the 7,000-square-foot restaurant space, per Crain’s. Buddy’s chief brand officer Wes Pikula tells Eater that the restaurant will have a little more than 200 seats including a mixture of booths and tables with a 25-seat patio facing Broadway. Additionally, Buddy’s is working on a layout that will include a grab-and-go area for customers to purchase pizza-by-the-slice, sandwiches, and salads. The interior will have a similar feel to other Buddy’s locations while also “using some of the natural design elements in the space,” Pikula says. “We’re excited that we can go into a space that has so much history.”
Construction crews were already at work on demolition as of last week. Pikula estimates that the downtown Buddy’s Pizza could debut sometime this fall ahead of the annual Thanksgiving Parade.
It’s seems only natural that Buddy’s, which serves Detroit’s signature style of pizza, would eventually land downtown. However, it is a bit shocking that it’s taken so long to happen. Buddy’s has been searching for opportunities to expand downtown for decades, Pikula says, noting that the restaurant considered a move to Greektown’s former Grecian Gardens space roughly 35 years ago. “Buddy’s is proud to represent the pizza that Detroit launched,” he says. “It only makes sense for Buddy’s to represent it in the downtown area.”
This is just one of several new locations in the works for Buddy’s. The chain recently confirmed plans to expand to Grand Rapids. Eater Chicago reports that the restaurant group is also eyeing the Windy City for expansion.
Update, February 26, 3:11 p.m.: This story has been updated with additional comments from Wes Pikula.
• More Pizza in Downtown Detroit: This Time It’s Buddy’s [Crain’s]
• Buddy’s Pizza Is Contemplating a Downtown Detroit Location [ED]
• Detroit-Style Pizza Icon Buddy’s Plans Major Expansion to the ‘Midwest and Beyond’ [ED]
• All Buddy’s Coverage [ED]