Tomatoes Apizza – 14 Mile Road
Boy, did I have some making up to do. The last two places I picked to eat were great for me, but not so great for J. We went to Detroit with the idea of going to Pizza Papalis in Greektown for lunch, but they were closed, so we had to find a place and found an Irish pub that J wasn’t crazy about. We were both kind of wanting pizza since we just drove two hours thinking about pizza.
As we sat at the Tiger’s game, I started thinking about pizza places I’ve heard good things about. We loved Buddy’s Pizza the one time we ate there, but I’ve heard there is better Detroit pizza. I’m not sure how that’s possible, but I want to try to find it if I can, so I searched Detroit pizza joints and one kept coming up near the top.
I found Tomatoes Apizza and Google’d it as we sat in the bleachers at Comerica Park to make sure they were open before we drove to Farmington Hills. I first called the one on Halsted Road. I got a recording that said they were closed, but the 14 Mile Road location was open. Still, I Google’d that location too and called just to make sure. I didn’t need anymore culinary let downs this weekend.
After getting confirmation that they were open…and after watching out White Sox lose a pathetic game, we headed out to Farmington Hills. Tomatoes Apizza is in a shopping center on the corner of 14 Mile and Middlebelt Road. A shopping center. Not what I was expecting.
We pulled up and I got a little worried that I had screwed up again. As I looked through the window, all I could see was an order counter. I didn’t see any seating. This can’t be just a carry-out place….right? We decided to get out of the car and go in. On our way to the door, I noticed a dining room in another part of the building that was behind tinted windows so it was hard to see from the parking lot. Phew. Crisis averted.
When we walked in, a waitress asked if we were dining in. We said yes and she told us to take any seat in the empty dining room. Again, not what I was expecting from a place that was declared one of the top 25 pizzas in the country by GQ Magazine. I know it’s Easter and all, but great pizza joints are usually always packed. The 14 Mile location is not the original. The one on Halsted is. The difference between the two is their ovens. The Halsted location uses a brick oven. The 14 Mile location uses a coal-fired oven.
Even though it’s in a strip mall, the dining room does feel more upscale than the typical wobbly tables and plastic booths. The floors and walls are tiled and chairs at the table are actual dining room chairs. There are also a couple wood picnic tables in the space and a row of six person booths. Even though there were only two of us, we took a booth.
The waitress followed us with menus and asked about drinks. They have Coke products and Faygo products. No tea. No Lemonade. Nothing but pop and water. I was fine with a Coke, but J didn’t want caffeine. She was stuck with water in glass with four lonely ice cubes.
The menu is pretty simple. They have seven pizzas to choose from then you can add toppings of your own. There are also breadsticks and garlic bread, a couple pasta dishes and a couple salads.
We kept things simple and ordered a large Classic Pizza with pepperoni on half. I have to admit, I was a little shocked when the pizza was delivered to the table. First off, it took less than ten minutes from the time we ordered until the time it was set on the table. Instead of a typical pizza pan or steel tray, the pizza was served in a sheet pan. A full sheet pan. Lined with parchment paper. The reasoning behind that is that the pizzas don’t have a uniform shape. The dough is hand stretched to a cracker thin crust then topped with a fresh tomato sauce and mozzarella cheese. They work with a pretty wet dough which makes the pizza a little crispier once it gets tossed into the coal oven.
As I’ve mentioned on this blog many, many, many times. J and I are fan of thin crust pizza and this pizza is as thin as they come. The odd shape of the pizza makes for odd shaped slices which just makes the process of eating it a little more challenging, but fun. The reason we both like thin crust is because we like crispy crusts and there’s no better place to get a snap along the edges than in a coal fired oven. J’s side seemed to be a little more crispier than mine, but that’s probably better because she likes crispy a little more than I do. The sauce had a great fresh taste to it and the pepperoni’s were just a bit crispy around the edges.
The check was a little over $18 and we were both fans of the pizza. I think I may redeemed myself from greasy bar food. The pizza was a little greasier than J would have liked, but it was a pizza right up her alley. It still doesn’t stack up to our favorite place in Chicago, but I don’t think anything ever will. As for the comparison with out Detroit pizza joints..well….Tomatoes Apizza and Buddy’s are two different kinds of pizza. I like both of them for different reason and since no one is holding a gun to my head and making me choose, I won’t.