Any self-respecting New Yorker has strong opinions on pizza. Pizza should be sold by slice with a crust that's thin and pliable enough to fold in half while eating. A regular slice is always crust, sauce, cheese, in that order.  These were things I always thought were true when it came to pizza, only making exceptions for squishy-crusted square Sicilian slices. 

Then I fell in love with the Instagram-iconic Spicy Spring slice from Soho pizzeria Prince Street Pizza. The crispy, golden crust, the fluffy interior beneath a layer of melted mozzarella, the spicy fra diavolo sauce, and of course, THOSE CUPS. I normally never eat pepperoni, but the perfectly curled up, perfectly crispy, sometimes even triple-layered pockets of pepperoni at Prince St Pizza make me forget anything I ever said about the redundancy of pizza toppings.

Lions and Tigers and Squares, Oh My

ANYWAY. Sometimes--ok, always--I am craving a square of greasy perfection and don't feel like going to Soho. Luckily, one of the pizza experts at Artichoke Basille's (whose also-iconic artichoke pizza slice I have only had once!!! It was excellent but just not my pizza preference.) have opened a brand-new Detroit-style pizzeria in Chelsea. Lions and Tigers and Squares, so named for two Detroit sports teams, just opened and is still in its soft opening stage, so make sure to check their Instagram for listed hours if you're reading this in May. Also you can see yours truly's Instagram was reposted by them (flips hair modestly). 

All About The Pizza

Okay: the pizza. PHENOMENAL. Baked in personal rectangular pans the size of three conjoined Sicilian slices, the pizza dough is waiting to be be baked behind the glass counter. The basic pizza costs $5, which is an absolute STEAL for three slices of fresh pizza in NYC. Like the pizza at L&B Spumoni Gardens and Prince Street, the pizza sauce at Lions and Tigers and Squares is layered over the cheese to maximize the airiness and crispiness of the crust. Detroit-style pizza is known for its thick, crispy crust that has an almost fried taste and texture due to the oiled pans it's baked in. It's square shaped and tends to have more open-minded toppings than the standard pepperoni and  buffalo chicken of New York-style pizza.

Emma Fingleton

Once you order, they'll sprinkle on whatever topping you want, each a couple of dollars extra. I went with pepperoni, of course. The man next to me ordered vodka sauce, which looked amazing and which he raved about to the owner as he left. Other toppings include peppers, black olives, and sausage, and I read on Eater NY that they'll be offering more inventive pies, such as hamburger.

Detroit-Style Pizza in a NYC Pizzeria Set U

The pizzeria itself is your average slice joint: glass counters display the choices, huge ovens line the back wall, and a fridge of drink options sits in the corner. A few chairless high top tables and a counter provide a place for you to scoff down your burning-hot pizza and take a smug Instagram story before you get grease all over your fingers. Motown music played in the background, which I later realized was a tribute to Detroit and provided a fun, laidback atmosphere. 

The pizza is available both to stay and to go, and will also be open 24/7 once it's fully open, providing a spot for a late night pick me up or a midafternoon snack. I could eat pizza pretty much any time of the day, so I appreciate this detail.

Emma Fingleton

Go Go Go!

It's convenient to a ton of subway stops, but I would gladly walk out of my way to visit Lions and Tigers and Squares again. I have their vodka pizza on my list and want to see if I can convince them to make my next pizza half-vodka, half-pepperoni. Detroit-style pizza has slowly been grabbing a foothold in the city, with the success of the constantly expanding Emily and Emmy Squared empire (with a new location coming to the East Village soon!). Lions and Tigers and Squares provides a casual entry into the Detroit-pizza style, and at the end of the day, it's really good pizza even a New Yorker can rave about.