America is stacked with regional pizza styles, as Kansas Citians know well from encountering the strange creation folks on the other side of Missouri developed using Provel cheese and what appears to be saltine crackers.
The explosion of Detroit-style “red top” pies as a national food trend was still unexpected, though. Not long ago, these thick squares of double-proofed dough topped with marinara were unknown outside a few pizza pubs in the Motor City. Next thing you know, they were everywhere.
Kansas City has a few spots for Detroit pies, but we’ve become a little obsessed with the slabs at Providence Pizza inside the Crossroads’ Parlor food hall (1707 Locust St., Kansas City, Mo., parlorkcmo.com/providence-pizza).
The owners of Providence come from Rhode Island, and they do traditional East Coast pies by the slice.
But you want their Motor City ($15), which comes on a square sheet of crust that’s pillowy on the inside and crisp on the outside.
The pie is topped with Wisconsin brick cheese, cheddar and pepperoni, then baked until the pepperonis curl up into little chalices of grease.
After it emerges from the oven, it’s finished with a strip of red sauce, thick shards of fresh basil and dollops of creamy ricotta. The sauce is the key ingredient: It’s thick and tangy with an addictive herbal punch.