My Turn: Robert Jacobs, Buddy’s Pizza, Detroit, MI

Robert Jacobs, president of Buddy’s Pizza in Detroit, Michigan

At Buddy’s Pizza, we are as dedicated to serving up delicious Detroit-style square pizzas today as we were when our original location opened back in 1946. More than 66 years later, our nine family-owned pizzerias have stayed true to the recipes that have made Buddy’s Pizza a household name.

We are known near and far for crafting the nation’s first square pizza, for soups made from scratch, and for our celebrated antipasto salad topped with a dressing of fresh herbs and ingredients that’s as much a part of our history as our pizza. As we prepare to celebrate National Pizza Month, we’re looking back at what has changed over the decades, as well as where we’re headed.

Over the years we have added a variety of items to our menu to embrace our customers changing health needs and requests. Today, alongside Buddy’s famous crust, you’ll find gluten-free and multi-grain options. In addition to our original sauce, we offer tomato basil sauce.

Cheese pizza has a whole new meaning, too. Customers may choose from our traditional brick cheese to our special Motor City Cheese Blend to a casein-free Vegan option to suit any dietary or health restriction.

We offer fresh homemade pastas, our signature Robby burgers, delicious sandwiches, salads and more –– all prepared with the freshest ingredients and an acute attention to detail.

We are just as committed to serving our surrounding communities as we are to serving up the very best food. Over the past 36 years, our employees have helped raise more than $2.5 million dollars to support Detroit’s Capuchin Soup Kitchen during our company- wide annual Slice for Life benefit program. We also actively support the American Red Cross, March of Dimes, Karmanos Cancer Institute, the College of Creative Studies, the Catholic Youth League and a variety of other national and Detroit-based charities.

Last year the city of Detroit designated June 23 as Buddy’s Pizza Day in Detroit. We chose that moment as a time to give back to the city that has helped us establish our strong roots. We launched our Motor City Pizza Collection, featuring pizzas named after four of Detroit’s most treasured cultural institutions:

The Detroit Institute of Arts, The Detroit Zoo, The Henry Ford and The Parade Company. A portion of the proceeds of each Motor City-themed pizza sold was later donated back to its designated cultural institution.

At the same time, Detroit’s own Kid Rock granted Buddy’s Pizza the opportunity to break boundaries in creating a pizza containing his own beer –– Badass Beer –– in our signature crust. It was the merging of two Detroit icons into the Kid Rock’s Badass Detroiter Pizza.

More than a Detroit- based business, we have always viewed ourselves as a made-in- Michigan company. That’s what led us to create the new, Made in Michigan Great Lakes Pizza Collection –– five new pizzas modeled after Michigan’s freshwater lakes. For each of these pizzas sold until December 31, a portion will be donated to the Alliance for the Great Lakes, a non-profit that works to preserve Michigan’s greatest resource for future generations.

We work in the pizza industry, where our square pies are consumed in a meal’s time. But our efforts have always served to accomplish something lasting in Southeast Michigan. It’s something that will mean so much more to our employees and to our customers, many of whom have grown with us through the years and become part of our extended Buddy’s Pizza family.