As the old adage goes, “Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life.” Jason Hall has clearly found the right job.
As the co-founder of Slow Roll Detroit, the popular weekly group bike ride that takes cyclists through all corners of the city, Hall helped advance Detroit’s bike culture. He left the organization in 2018 to found Ridetroit, an e-bike and walking tour company. He started leading tours through Murals in the Market, showing everyone from students to international tourists work done by nationally and internationally renowned artists like Sheefy McFly, Sydney James, and others who call Detroit home.
Beyond showcasing Detroit artists and street-art culture, Hall also leads tours through neighborhoods (Five Neighborhood Tour) and into pizza joints (Jason’s Pizza Tour).
Pizza is a subject he’s passionate about. So much so that in 2017, he embarked on a yearlong journey of pizza-eating. That’s right — 365 days straight.
In doing so, he realized the story of pizza was bigger than just a large cheese
pie. He started talking up pizza to everyone he’d connect with and “we would get into
this huge discussion,” says Hall. “So I’m like, this is bigger than eating pizza. Pizza
is a lifestyle.”
“Detroit really is the mecca of pizza,” he continues. “And I’m not just saying that because I live here. You get to experience so many different types of pizza at one time [in a two-hour tour],” he says. “You can have Supino’s thin crust. You can have Michigan and Trumbull, which is the new, up-and-coming square. And then you’ve got Buddy’s. You’ve got all three of those within biking distance.”
The idea for the pizza tour came from his clients. “I’ve had people come from out of the state and they asked me right off, ‘Where’s Buddy’s?’ [The tour] was a no-brainer. I’m always looking for an opportunity to showcase my friends who are doing great things.”
Jason Hall’s Pizza Recommendations
Any list of Detroit-style pizza needs to include Buddy’s. “You can’t forget Buddy’s. I would be remiss if I did not talk about the father of all of this,” Hall says. 1565 Broadway St., Detroit, 313-765-1500; 17125 Conant St., Detroit, 313-892-9001; more locations at buddyspizza.com
The popular pizzeria is located in Eastern Market, where Hall leads Murals in the Market tours. For his pizza tours, the story behind the pie is just as important as the pizza. He counts Dave Mancini as a friend, so chances are, “if you’re hanging out with me, you might have the opportunity to meet him” and hear his story. 2457 Russell St., Detroit, 313-567-7879; supinopizzeria.com
Michigan and Trumbull
According to Hall, this restaurant is part of a new-school breed of pizzeria with more creative toppings and modern flavor profiles. “You’re getting pickled onions; you’re getting different things that you wouldn’t think of. And that’s what I love about them: their dedication to staying true to Detroit-style pizza, but pushing the art forward.” Michigan and Trumbull, 1441 W. Elizabeth St., Detroit; 313-637-4992; michigantrumbullpizza.com
While Buddy’s is the father of Detroit-style pizza, “The last time I had a perfect pizza was that Cloverleaf,” says Hall of the pie he had at the Eastpointe staple a few months ago. Cloverleaf was founded by Gus Guerra, yes the same one from Buddy’s, which he sold in 1953. “It had the perfect cook on it. Perfect amount of sauce.” Also pro tip: “If you like french fries, Cloverleaf also has the best french fries I’ve ever had in my life.” Cloverleaf, 24443 Gratiot Ave., Eastpointe; 586-777-5391; more locations at cloverleaf-pizza.com
“Sicily’s is the king of neighborhood delivery spots,” Hall says. “Not only are they one of the few places that still deliver outside of Uber Delivery and all those [delivery services], but Ali, the owner, he loves pizza, and he really puts his heart into that pizza.” Sicily’s Pizza, 3554 W. Vernor Hwy., Detroit, 313-554-0755; sicilysdetroit.com
Hall used to work at the American Cycle and Fitness store on Woodward in Royal Oak, which was across the street from Uncle Andy’s. “If you’re ordering pizza through a chain, if you can get Uncle Andy’s get it. Uncle Andy’s is the best chain delivery.” Uncle Andy’s, 28957 Woodward Ave., Berkley; 248-545-6111; more locations at uncleandyspizza.com
This popular pizza pop-up has built a loyal following for their thin-crust pizza, Hall included. “They are the new up and comers … They started out of their crib,” Hall says. Now they can be found popping up around town, including at Michigan and Trumbull. “They’re letting Val’s use their kitchen. Think about that. Another pizza place is letting a pizza place use their kitchen. Do you think Domino’s would ever let Pizza Hut use their kitchen? That’s community. When I saw that I almost cried. That’s the epitome of what we’re supposed to do [supporting each other].” Val’s Pizza, various locations; valspizzadetroit.com