What is this monster? One thing for sure, it is so not gluten free. This, dear readers, is a slab of Detroit-style pizza from Bricks Corner. While not a new thing in the world it’s a new thing in Salt Lake City, (unless you count Little Caesars, which we don’t) the rectangular, steel pan pizza, born in Detroit, is testing our notions about pizza.
Pizza is an infinitely malleable concept. What started as street food in Naples, Italy way back in the 1700s has become the lingua franca of cuisines. The latest dialect to arrive on Salt Lake’s shores has its origins in Motor City and is the centerpiece of Bricks Corner, a new, pandemic-born restaurant on 700 East.
So what is Detroit Style pizza? First, it’s big. Think Ford F-150 big. The inches-thick, deep-dish pizza style owes some inspiration to Detroit’s neighbors in Chicago, but the comparison stops there. It stems from an apocryphal tale of a hungry auto-worker, some dough and a steel parts pan. The rectangular steel pans create an extremely hot cooking surface. Instead of sauce first, the dough is covered with Wisconsin brick cheese and then comes the sauce and toppings. The cheese melts down the sides of the dough and reacts with the hot steel pan, slightly burning, which makes for an extremely crispy, cheese-infused edge to the pizza. Its corners, as Bricks’ chef/owner Josh Poticha says, are the best part. “Some people don’t eat pizza crust, but, with Detroit style, the crust is what they eat first.”
Poticha grew up in Chicago, came to town in a typical fashion—to ski—and fell in love with the place. He owns another restaurant, also called Bricks, in South Carolina, which serves southern food. He bought a house south and east of Liberty Park and noticed that there really wasn’t a neighborhood spot in the area like he was used to in Chicago. He then bought the old Liberty Park Emporium building and set to designing the welcoming, friendly place with a prominent bar and lovely patio that he hopes will become a fixture in his ’hood. His plans were approved right as the pandemic hit.
“I was in deep enough at that point that there was really no turning back,” he says. “But for me, it had been a lifelong dream to create a whole restaurant from beginning to end, and we’re finally starting to see success.”
But back to that Detroit-style pizza that is the true foundation of Bricks. A slice of this pizza is truly something to behold. It’s huge, a massive 3-inch tall block of cheese and dough sturdy enough to pile ever more massive amounts of toppings onto. It feels more like lasagna than a pizza and certainly is not for someone counting carbs. The crispy edges are a meal in and of themselves and provide a backbone for the soft interior and the wild array of topping combos Poticha has dreamed up. It’s good, really good. But go hungry, you’ll need a Cadillac-sized appetite when you order a slice of this Motor City original.
1465 S. 700 East, SLC