Two Iconic Institutions Merge as Detroit-Style Pizza Takes Over Animals at the Detroit Zoo

Two Iconic Institutions Merge as Detroit-Style Pizza Takes Over Animals at the Detroit Zoo

Eco-friendly building features crafted with locally reclaimed materials

Buddy’s Pizza, home of the original Detroit-style square pizza since 1946, opened its newest restaurant inside the Detroit Zoo at 10 a.m. on Thursday, Oct. 4,  marking its 13th location in Michigan.

The new 5,200-square-foot location will seat 163 guests and offer picturesque views of the Zoo’s historic Horace H. Rackham Memorial Fountain from the main dining room, an outdoor patio and a rooftop terrace that boasts the highest vantage point in the Zoo.

In addition to serving a variety of Buddy’s original square pizzas, the restaurant will feature pizza by the slice, gluten-free pizza, antipasto salad, Buddy Brew and other cold beverages.

“We’re proud to partner with Buddy’s and bring another classic and iconic hometown staple to our visitors,” said Ron Kagan, Executive Director and CEO for the Detroit Zoological Society. “This building is also yet another example of our commitment to environmental sustainability.”

The restaurant incorporates donated and recycled materials, including tables and furnishings built with reclaimed wood from around the Zoo that have been stamped with the location of its origin. A striking ceiling feature is made of 100-year-old wooden planks from a Michigan barn and two counters were built using bowling alley flooring from an old establishment in metro Detroit. Additionally, the windows are made with fretted glass to prevent and minimize the occurrence of bird strikes. The rooftop terrace is made from a 95-percent recycled wood-alternative decking material called Trex, composed primarily of plastic grocery bags and reclaimed hardwood.  Future eco-friendly practices will include a rain garden cared for with water runoff from the rooftop terrace.

“Since 2011, Buddy’s has been the ‘Proud Pizza Partner of the Detroit Zoo’ which has included assisting with educational opportunities for students and special enrichment experiences with animals,” said Wes Pikula, Buddy’s Pizza COO. “Having an actual Buddy’s restaurant there is a natural expansion of that partnership and we’re glad to be able to serve more families as they visit our cherished zoo.”

To celebrate its opening, Buddy’s will donate $1 for each Detroit Zoo pizza – topped with its signature Motor City cheese blend, roasted tomatoes, fresh basil, and tomato-basil sauce – purchased at any of their locations during the month of September to the Detroit Zoological Society.

The restaurant will be managed by Service Systems Associates, operator of concessions, retail and grounds services for the Zoo. It will be open daily year-round from 11 a.m. until the zoo closes.

About Buddy’s Pizza

In 1946, Buddy’s Pizza became the birthplace of the original Detroit-style square pizza. For seven decades the restaurant has been feeding patrons at its 12 metro Detroit locations and earning accolades from fans across the nation, including recognition from CBS This Morning, USA Today, Zagat, Food Network, Pizza Today, Eater, Travel Channel and more. Consistently voted Detroit’s number one pizza locally, regionally and nationally, the Farmington Hills-based restaurant remains true to its Detroit roots, legacy and  traditions that began on the corner of 6 Mile and Conant years ago. For more information, visit or connect with Buddy’s on Facebook (, Twitter (@BuddysPizza) and Instagram (@BuddysPizzaDET).

Lindsey Jenn

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: