Cloverleaf Bar & Restaurant is celebrating a big slice of Detroit pizza history this year. It’s the 65th anniversary of their introduction of Michigan’s original deep-dish pizza recipe.
Cloverleaf’s famous original deep-dish pizza was first introduced to Detroit in 1946 by founder Gus Guerra, original owner of Buddy’s Rendezvous. He began serving his wife’s authentic Sicilian family pizza recipe there. It’s a thick crusted, square pie topped first with a layer of cheese followed with a layer of tomato sauce. Eventually this pie recipe became known as “Detroit-style Pizza” and continued to be served at Cloverleaf, the restaurant Guerra opened in 1953, after selling Buddy’s. All these years later Cloverleaf is still owned and operated by Gus and Anna Guerra’s children, Jack and Marie. Located on Gratiot Avenue in Eastpointe, it has become an East Detroit institution.
The timing of Cloverleaf’s anniversary aligned really well with Michigan’s landmark as a state, so the popular restaurant decided to intertwine the celebrations. They partnered with Buy Michigan Now and First State Bank to involve children in their community through a fun contest designed to build pride in Michigan and in our local products and businesses. Youngsters were invited to write essays and create posters honoring 65 years of Cloverleaf pizza and 175 years of Michigan statehood.
Elementary school students who created the winning essay for their grade won their class a pizza party at the restaurant, along with a fundraiser party where Cloverleaf will donate 20% of all food sales to the schools’ PTO (Parent Teacher Organization). Fourth-grade Pleasantview student, Laura Boik, the winner of the poster contest, received a Buy Michigan Now Gift Basket filled with local products, courtesy of First State Bank.
The winners were chosen and unveiled at Cloverleaf on February 27, 2012. Those who were in attendance were given the opportunity to join radio personality, Rachel Nevada, and read their essay aloud for all to hear.
Afterwards guests were treated to two beautiful cakes from Cake Creations by Jackie out of Roseville. One honored Cloverleaf's accomplishment and the other, our state's.
Here are some excerpts from the adorable and inspirational winning essays. Aarieon Broom a 7-year old from Crescentwood Elementary recommends, “If you ever get thirsty try Faygo pop. My favorite is grape. On Sundays I just sit back and relax and eat my Better Made Potato Chips with my dad and watch a Detroit Lions game.”
Bellview Elementary third-grader, Evan Hartman offers this sound advice, “You may want to stop by Morley Candy Factory for a tour. They have tasty chocolates! Before you go anywhere, you should stop by First State Bank and get some money…If you don’t have any money you can’t buy a new car, Better Made Chips, Faygo Pop, Cloverleaf Pizza, or Morley Candy! Michigan is an awesome place to live and I love it here.”
Robert Montroy, a 9-year old from Pleasantview Elementary took a creative route, describing a road trip. He starts out, “One day, a family of six from Traverse City, were going on a trip to Detroit. The oldest son, James, had an interview at the University of Detroit, which is Michigan’s oldest and largest Catholic University.” The story goes on to describe the fun places the family visits and food they try when they reach Detroit.
Finally there’s Pleasantview sixth-grader, Jan Hough, who touted freedom, education, and our way of life throughout the essay before concluding with “I love Michigan because of the basketball team always working together helping each other. I love Michigan because of the people around it.”
Congratulations to all the winners and to the Guerra family on feeding their customers exquisite pies in their own unique style for more than sixty five years.
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