DEARBORN HEIGHTS, MICHIGAN
PAR BAKED GLUTEN FREE PIZZA CRUSTS
In 1946, pizza wasn’t being served at many places in Detroit, but soon many took their first bite of what is now famously known as Detroit-Style pizza when Cloverleaf founder, Gus Guerra and his wife Anna (Passalacqua) first introduced her mother’s recipe – the thick crusted, square pie topped first with a layer of cheese followed with a layer of tomato sauce – at their first bar, Buddy’s Rendezvous. Gus Guerra sold Buddy’s in 1953 along with his pizza recipe and purchased Cloverleaf Bar in East Detroit, now known as the City of Eastpointe. Cloverleaf has grown from a small neighborhood bar which Gus described as looking like “a little white farm house” into the Eastside institution it is today.
Since Gus Guerra introduced the square pizza to Detroit, many establishments began making the square pizza but it has been said this original recipe is “The one everyone copies but no one equals.” To this day, Buddy’s Pizza credits Gus as the founder of Detroit-Style pizza.
Throughout the years, Cloverleaf has received many awards for their famous pizza, including being named one of the Top 3 pizzas in Detroit and taking home the 1st place North American Pizza Pizzazz™ honor in 2009. In 2011, Cloverleaf received 1st place at the International Pizza Challenge in the Non-Traditional category in the region. Most recently, Cloverleaf received an award as the number one pizza in the county and number 26 in the United States.
Gus’s tradition of Detroit-Style pizza continues through his son and grandsons. Jack Guerra and his three sons, Agostino (Tino), Jack Jr. and Joe run the families five Cloverleaf carry-out and delivery locations. Sam Lacaria, also a partner in the Cloverleaf pizzerias recognized the growth potential in the gluten-free category and challenged Jack Guerra Sr. to develop a gluten-free pizza crust. Jack with his 50+ years of experience in the pizza industry went to work to create a gluten-free pizza he could offer to their customers. Jack experimented with several types of gluten-free flour, creating, to his surprise, a high quality, delicious gluten-free pizza crust that closely mimics the original Detroit-Style pizza recipe made famous by his father. Jack and the Cloverleaf team offered the gluten-free pizza to their customers and the response was overwhelming. Demand for the crust increased and overall store revenue rose after the introduction of the gluten-free crust.