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Author Topic: Ann Arbor Mini-Tour: Joe’s, Jet’s, Buddy’s  (Read 508 times)

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Offline wb54885

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Ann Arbor Mini-Tour: Joe’s, Jet’s, Buddy’s
« on: November 20, 2021, 08:28:05 AM »
I just spent a few days visiting my wife’s family in Ann Arbor, MI and realized I had a chance to check out a few spots I’ve been eyeing for a while. A quick pizza tour, I’ve got time for that!

First, a slice at the new Joe’s outpost near the campus. It’s been a few years since I had the original in lower Manhattan, but this seemed a very worthy representation of the home pie. All of the slice pies looked pretty good in the window. I expected maybe the quality would have dropped since opening, but the bakes, stretches and ratios looked very solid. This time around I noticed the pronounced sweetness of the sauce. It reminded me a bit of of NY Pizza Suprema, which I enjoyed again on my most recent NYC trip a few weeks ago and which also struck me as a sugar-forward slice flavor. Joe’s had a more interesting crust flavor than Suprema, though—both salt and sweetness easily perceptible. Overall, certainly no complaints from me or the lady—a great slice. The students are lucky to have it and the place seemed fairly busy for 3pm on a Wednesday.

Next, a shootout between Jet’s and Buddy’s, neither of which I’ve tried before. I know there are loyal clans in each’s corner. I tried to read up about their respective histories and features before going, and thumbed through a handful of the classic threads here to get a sense of what I might be in for, but I also realized as a Detroit newbie I really just needed these pies to wash over me.

We had six adults and one toddler at the table for the shootout. From each place, we ordered a small plain cheese and a small sausage, onion, and green pepper. Interestingly, both places quoted me a square pan’s dimensions on the phone when I asked about sizing for a “small,” and yet each provided me a pair of rectangular pies upon receipt of the orders. The guy at Buddy’s also said, “it’s been a long time since somebody ordered an uncut pie!” The Jet’s location was northwest of AA, in Dexter, and the Buddy’s location was on the southern edge of town on Salinas-Ann Arbor. I hoped to get locations that had each been open for a while, and I’m not sure how I did...maybe someone from the area can direct me to better locations for the future? Or maybe it’s not that significant; it seems like both have their systems and equipment pretty dialed in across locations.

First up, both pies from Jet’s. Cheese above sauce, emphasis on the crunch of the crust. Everyone loved the crust texture and especially enjoyed the sausage, onion, and pepper slices. Nice color on the undercarriage.

Then, Buddy’s. Quite a difference on the color of the undercarriages on these two but not necessarily much of a difference in texture or flavor. The Buddy’s sauce was a HIT. The caramelized cheese edge also seemed more flavorful to me...all around, the crust had a more buttery/savory flavor. Toppings on the Buddy’s pie seemed less flavorful than the Jet’s equivalent.

Across the board, everyone present said they wish they had the Jet’s crunch and sausage combined with the Buddy’s sauce. No strong feelings about cheese preference emerged, save for me focusing in on the caramelized edge from Buddy’s.

I’ve worked with Roman style high hydration pan pizzas, and with local flour+artisan ingredient Detroit knock-offs in Seattle—and I had my share of Little Caesar’s and Pizza Hut pan pizzas as a kid—but I consider these to be my first true-blue Detroit style experiences. A few years ago I thought I’d never be a pan pizza devotee, but I’ve seen the light and enjoy the family of styles very much now that I’ve spent some time with them.

Looking forward to factoring these experiences into my future pan endeavors, and to making more trips through/to the Midwest over the next few years as we watch my nephew grow into a little man. The drive from Asheville takes us through Lexington, KY as well as Cincinnati, so there’s a lot of exploring to do. Cheers, midwesterners!

Pics below
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Offline wb54885

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Re: Ann Arbor Mini-Tour: Joe’s, Jet’s, Buddy’s
« Reply #1 on: November 20, 2021, 08:28:50 AM »
Joe’s
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Offline wb54885

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Re: Ann Arbor Mini-Tour: Joe’s, Jet’s, Buddy’s
« Reply #2 on: November 20, 2021, 08:29:55 AM »
Jet’s
Every oven is a law unto itself and only itself.

Offline wb54885

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Re: Ann Arbor Mini-Tour: Joe’s, Jet’s, Buddy’s
« Reply #3 on: November 20, 2021, 08:31:00 AM »
Buddy’s
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Offline Pete-zza

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Re: Ann Arbor Mini-Tour: Joe’s, Jet’s, Buddy’s
« Reply #4 on: November 20, 2021, 01:02:31 PM »
Across the board, everyone present said they wish they had the Jet’s crunch and sausage combined with the Buddy’s sauce. No strong feelings about cheese preference emerged, save for me focusing in on the caramelized edge from Buddy’s.
Doug,

As you may already know, there are threads on the forum for both the Buddy's clone and the Jet's clone, at:

https://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php?topic=3783.msg31493#msg31493

https://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php?topic=8247.msg71152#msg71152

Maybe you can find a way of combining the features of the two pizzas that you liked.

FYI, I touched upon the Buddy's sauce at Reply 131 at:

https://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php?topic=3783.msg81436#msg81436

The corresponding post for Jet's is at Reply 26 at:

https://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php?topic=8247.msg118161#msg118161

Unfortunately, many of the links no longer work and no replacements could be found for many of them in the Wayback machine.

Peter

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Offline jsaras

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Re: Ann Arbor Mini-Tour: Joe’s, Jet’s, Buddy’s
« Reply #5 on: November 20, 2021, 04:57:17 PM »
Do you think that the Buddy's sauce was more pronounced because it's on top of the cheese? 
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Offline foreplease

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Re: Ann Arbor Mini-Tour: Joe’s, Jet’s, Buddy’s
« Reply #6 on: November 21, 2021, 07:20:17 AM »
Do you think that the Buddy's sauce was more pronounced because it's on top of the cheese?
That dovetails with my question about the most obvious difference between the two places: sauce placement. How did your group feel about that, wb? Was there a clear preference? Thanks for an(other) interesting and thorough write up.
-Tony

Offline wb54885

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Re: Ann Arbor Mini-Tour: Joe’s, Jet’s, Buddy’s
« Reply #7 on: November 22, 2021, 10:24:44 AM »
The sauce on top is a factor, but I think there was also something about the seasoning that gave it a punch. Nobody in the group was terribly off-put by the unfamiliar construction  :)

It’s interesting that the Buddy’s sauce goes on top pre-bake, and I can see in the pics that it really looks like a sauce that’s cooked by the time it comes out. Maybe it’s the thickening during baking that accounts for some of the extra flavor. But my first thoughts were oregano, garlic powder, and other seasoning-packet type ingredients. I tried to isolate some of the Jet’s sauce to compare and it just seemed like Buddy’s was the bolder of the two, and that really fit to me with the rest of the style.
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Offline Jon in Albany

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Re: Ann Arbor Mini-Tour: Joe’s, Jet’s, Buddy’s
« Reply #8 on: November 22, 2021, 10:46:43 AM »
Great write up. There's a Jets in the Buffalo NY area that I was hoping to get to on one of my trips out that way. Hasn't happened yet. In looking at the photos, my versions of Detroits when I make them look to be more on the well done side of things.

Offline wb54885

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Re: Ann Arbor Mini-Tour: Joe’s, Jet’s, Buddy’s
« Reply #9 on: November 23, 2021, 09:37:08 AM »
Jon, I believe there were a couple of instances in the threads Peter linked to of a Jet’s or Buddy’s employee jumping into the conversation and saying they would cook their personal pies a bit longer than the norm. I think the trend with the Detroit style boom across the country, with pizzerias, pop-ups and home cooks all getting into it, has been to go for dramatic caramelized cheese edges and toasty undercrusts. These pizzas would not have suffered from some extra baking, but I’m also glad to have gotten to see them “as is” per what the well known spots typically serve. Much like in the NY world, where Mama’s Too or L’industrie are not traditional NY street slices, but instead represent a new branch on the family tree and an appeal to slightly different tastes and textures.
« Last Edit: November 23, 2021, 10:34:06 AM by wb54885 »
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Offline Jon in Albany

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Re: Ann Arbor Mini-Tour: Joe’s, Jet’s, Buddy’s
« Reply #10 on: November 23, 2021, 10:18:10 AM »
That's a good way of looking at it. Prior to making some myself, the only Detroits I had ever had were Emmy Squared and Norma's at her stand.

Not sure if it will happen this year, but one of my kids is on a robotics team and they have a big competition in Detroit. My plan was to sneak away for a mini pizza tour between events.

Offline HansB

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Re: Ann Arbor Mini-Tour: Joe’s, Jet’s, Buddy’s
« Reply #11 on: November 23, 2021, 11:02:42 AM »
That's a good way of looking at it. Prior to making some myself, the only Detroits I had ever had were Emmy Squared and Norma's at her stand.

Not sure if it will happen this year, but one of my kids is on a robotics team and they have a big competition in Detroit. My plan was to sneak away for a mini pizza tour between events.

Jon, Lou (hotsawce) did a lot of research for the DS at Emmy Squared. I thought that theirs was very similar to that found here in SE MI.

If you come out here, let me know. I'll give you the quick tour.
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Offline Jon in Albany

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Re: Ann Arbor Mini-Tour: Joe’s, Jet’s, Buddy’s
« Reply #12 on: November 23, 2021, 11:43:51 AM »
Jon, Lou (hotsawce) did a lot of research for the DS at Emmy Squared. I thought that theirs was very similar to that found here in SE MI.

If you come out here, let me know. I'll give you the quick tour.
That would be amazing. All I know about the robotics season this year is that it kicks off in early January. No idea what they will end up doing for  competitions. Last year was mostly video submissions.

When I was at Emmy Square I asked if Lou was around, but he wasn't there that day. I had just showed up. I was on Long Island for work and took the train in to wonder Brooklyn eating pizza. Nice night. Went to Best, Williamsburg, Emmy Squared and Paulie Gee's.

Offline HansB

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Re: Ann Arbor Mini-Tour: Joe’s, Jet’s, Buddy’s
« Reply #13 on: November 23, 2021, 12:20:39 PM »
That would be amazing. All I know about the robotics season this year is that it kicks off in early January. No idea what they will end up doing for  competitions. Last year was mostly video submissions.

When I was at Emmy Square I asked if Lou was around, but he wasn't there that day. I had just showed up. I was on Long Island for work and took the train in to wonder Brooklyn eating pizza. Nice night. Went to Best, Williamsburg, Emmy Squared and Paulie Gee's.

I hope it works out! I really liked Best and Paulie G's too.
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Offline RHawthorne

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Re: Ann Arbor Mini-Tour: Joe’s, Jet’s, Buddy’s
« Reply #14 on: November 23, 2021, 10:27:28 PM »
 I'm in Kalamazoo, so I have all of these options within reach. I paid a visit to the Joe's location in Ann Arbor in October of last year, because I just had to as soon as I heard that it existed. I guess that's the first and only real  NY pizza I've ever had. I think I posted about that visit myself, and posted pictures, but I'll post them again. I liked their round pie slices pretty well, but I wasn't blown away with their Sicilian pie. I thought it had an impressively light texture, but the flavor of the crust was as bland as wonder bread to my palate.
 A Buddy's outpost opened up in my town some time last year, and I've been to one of their locations in Ann Arbor. I thought their pizza was pretty nice when I first had it in Ann Arbor, but I've given the new location in Kalamazoo a couple of tries, and I thought it was rather mediocre; not as good as the other location. And just about every time I drive by the place, they look pretty dead.
 We have three Jet's locations, and I've been to two of them. Their pizza can be pretty decent for a chain, but it can also be rather inconsistent. Sometimes the dough just isn't really not done all the way like it should be, and sometimes it seems that they really overdo it on whatever kind of cheap oil they're using in the pan, so the overall perception and feeling after eating it is one of a heavy, greasy pie.
 Having been born and raised in Michigan and being a pizza addict, I'm very much aware that both Domino's and Little Caesar's started here. Plus, being only 150 miles east of Chicago (actually exactly in between Detroit and Chicago) and having been there many times in my youth on family trips and as an adult, I've had a fair amount of deep dish pizza. I guess I can say I'm pretty familiar with both Chicago and Detroit style pan pizzas, but neither style is quite up there with my favorites. Between the two, I probably prefer Chicago style just a little bit.
« Last Edit: November 23, 2021, 10:29:12 PM by RHawthorne »
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