Great Lakes inspire pizza maker; The Lake Ontario has Canadian bacon
You’re doing more than ordering a pizza when you ask for a Lake Ontario with extra cheese at Buddy’s, a popular Detroit pizzeria.
Every time someone orders from its Made in Michigan Great Lakes Pizza Collection, the restaurant donates a dollar to the Alliance for the Great Lakes, an environmental advocacy and policy organization.
Each Great Lake has a pizza named for it, a new way of bringing attention to a valuable resource.
“When guests come in they keep the lakes in mind with the use of the name,” said Wesley Pikula, vice-president of operations at Buddy’s. “It gets people to pay attention to our shared environment.”
Yes, the Lake Ontario does have Canadian bacon. But the pizzeria went beyond the obvious in its flavor creations.
“We didn’t want to just put on ingredients that didn’t’ work,” said Pikula. “We went through trial and effort to create flavors.”
On the menu:
- The Lake Michigan is a reincarnation of a blue cheese burger: ground beef, caramelized onions, and blue cheese.
- The Lake Erie has salami, red onion, roasted red peppers and mild yellow pepper rings.
- The Lake Ontario has a BBQ sauce topped with fresh cilantro, grilled pineapple and Canadian bacon.
- The Lake Superior is topped with fresh basil, pine nuts and pepperoni.
- The Lake Huron has spinach and roasted tomatoes, and uses a spinach artichoke blend as its sauce.
A new Motor City cheese blend tops each of them.
Soon the restaurant will look to urban farms as a new supplier of fresh basil and
other locally-sourced ingredients to support the Great Lakes region.
“We want to be part of Made in Michigan,” Pikula said.
The Great Lakes pizzas hit Buddy’s menu last Saturday and will remain there until the end of the year.
To enhance the namesake pizza collection and in keeping with the interest in locally-sourced ingredients, perhaps Buddy’s might want to consider ingredients from the Great Lakes themselves.
Skimming algae off Lake Erie would not only help the environment, it could replace Italian basil in a not-so-traditional, but incredibly local, algae and tomato sauce.
If the fences in the Chicago River should fail, Asian carp may jump at the chance to become a new pizza topping.
And if the Queen of England can eat sea lamprey in a pie, couldn’t we also slice them up and spread them on a pie anchovie style? Or maybe offer zebra mussels in place of clams as a topping? Think of it as Invasive Species: The pizza.
The Niagara Falls pizza could have its ingredients smoked over oaken barrels that people have taken over its edge.
Or, as a counter-point to urban farmers, Buddy’s could ask country hunters to provide grass-fed meat. Moose meatballs on an Isle Royal pizza, anyone?
Chefs at Buddy’s are probably kicking themselves right now for not coming up with these ideas first. Help ‘em out. You got a good idea? Write it in the comments.