Upper Crust

Pizza in Italy inspired Dave Mancini to aim for the top at his Supino Pizzeria, located in Eastern Market


Published:

Pierino Mancini was 12 years old when he and his family boarded an ocean liner and embarked on a journey to America. During the voyage, young Pierino narrowly escaped getting washed overboard.

That was 54 years ago, and happily, Pierino (now known as Peter) grew up and had a family of his own.

His 35-year-old son, Dave, tells the story of his father’s escape from the waves as he works in the kitchen at Supino Pizzeria at Eastern Market, a restaurant he named for the town in Italy where Pierino was born.

It’s a town he visited once on a family reunion in 2001, and it inspired him to try to make pizza as good as it was there. “I was blown away,” he says of the taste of the dish made in what he describes as just a poor farming community.

Before the trip, Mancini studied physical therapy at Wayne State University, where he was dating a fellow student. In a rash moment, he told her he knew how to make pizza.

He says it took a month of trial and error, but he taught himself to make what he calls “serviceable” pizza. Mancini’s pizza is much more than merely serviceable now.

After returning from Italy, he devoted himself to finding out what made the crust so much better there.

He did a lot of reading on the subject, and after months of experimenting, he believes he figured out the delicate balance of water, flour, and yeast that makes the perfect dough, as well as the best oven. He uses a huge Marsal, which has left-to-right burners that cook the pizzas evenly, as well as a brick surface that produces crisp crust.

Mancini had been working in his field as a physical therapist when he decided to look for a space and open his own pizzeria.

Supino Pizzeria opened in August, after a complete renovation of the space at 2457 Russell St. that had housed Flat Planet Pizza. Soon after, he heard from his old girlfriend, who said she always knew he would open a restaurant.

The high-ceilinged storefront has been completely renovated, with walls painted a cheerful tomato-red and wooden tables that once were work tables at the Delphi plant in Flint. There are also clever metal wall sculptures made from reclaimed flea-market finds and other castoffs. The slightly gritty look is just right for the market setting.

Although the menu is focused on pizza, there are also good salads of mixed greens with lemon-basil dressing, housemade manicotti, and a dessert of crespelle (crêpes) with ricotta, chocolate sauce, and pistachios.

All thanks, really, to the quick hands that saved the little boy on the boat 54 years ago.

 2457 Russell St., Detroit; 313-567-7879. Open Tue.-Sat.

Edit Module
Edit Module Edit ModuleShow Tags

Archive »Related Content

2015 Hour Detroit Restaurant Of The Year

Torino chef Garrett Lipar’s tasting menus take guests on expertly paced and emotional culinary adventures

You Say Tomato...

They may not have 57 varieties, but Labrosse Farms is branching out to produce heirloom ketchups and jams

Hot Off The Skillet

Kuzzo’s Chicken and Waffles chef Bill Bowles serves up Southern-style fried green tomatoes

A Long Day's Coney Into Night

What’s a typical Friday like at Detroit’s iconic Lafayette Coney Island? A tag team crew of Hour Detroit staffers finds out.

Shelf Awareness

Craft brewers push their way into premium space once reserved for the big boys
Edit Module
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Most Popular

  1. Hour Detroit's Best of Detroit Party 2015 Video Invitation
    Hour Detroit is bringing the Best of Detroit issue to life at the tenth-annual Best of Detroit...
  2. Brewery Profile - Greenbush Brewing Co.
    Sawyer, Michigan’s Greenbush Brews Full-bodied Beer
  3. Royal Oak's New Brew
    ROAK Brewing Co.’s taproom opens to the public today
  4. A Long Day's Coney Into Night
    What’s a typical Friday like at Detroit’s iconic Lafayette Coney Island? A tag team crew of...
  5. Where and What We Eat
  6. Promise and Protocol
    Gordie Howe’s stroke treatments and A. Alfred Taubman’s legacy to U-M are putting stem cell...
  7. Top Dentists 2015
  8. The 313: Dialing In To Metro Detroit
  9. What We Do For Fun
  10. Shelf Awareness
    Craft brewers push their way into premium space once reserved for the big boys