GTPulse: New Traverse City Pizzeria Keeps an Old Recipe Alive

I grew up with square style pizza. Being from metro Detroit it was unavoidable, and my mother preferred it to traditional pizza. I remember the first time I ate a round pizza it tasted so different to me that I asked what it was.

When I moved to Traverse City I heard people talk about Brady’s wings, Mary’s Kitchen Port turkey gobblers, and Alley’s Market pizza. I never got to try Alley’s before it closed shop in September. I kicked myself for not going sooner and continued to punish myself by reading Yelp reviews of how life-changing this pizza was. Tourists talked about how it enhanced their vacation time spent here, transplants from downstate talk of how it could easily compete with Detroit style pizza back home, and one reviewer hilariously recounted it being so good that he and his date filled up on the pizza and ended up being late to a wedding because they couldn’t stop eating it.

Lucky for me, and for you, the Alley’s pizza recipe isn’t gone forever.

“Alley’s was a gem in the wall, best Detroit style pizza up north. I asked a lot of people their opinion on it, and the majority of them said it was their favorite pizza. So, it worked out. We could keep the pizza alive.”

Dan Karabacz and Chef Bobby “Tsunami” Lee, have been transforming the old Alley’s Market into Charles and Reid Detroit Pizza, and they’re bringing the well-loved recipe with them.

“We like to say it’s Alley’s Market with a Charles and Reid touch of love,” Dan said.

Dan grew up in Gaylord and Bobby grew up in Kansas City. Their passion for cooking took them all over the United States. They both attended culinary school, both ended up traveling for different jobs, and both ended up in Colorado. Despite having some parallels in experience, they didn’t cross paths until they were both in Michigan.

“After culinary school was over I got convinced to go to Steamboat Springs Colorado for several years. I had helped open two restaurants out in Steamboat, the third one was in Frankfort. So, I moved from Colorado to Michigan,” Bobby said.

It was here that he met Dan. Dan was bartending at the Frankfort restaurant and Bobby was the sous chef. 

“That first day of orientation Dan just looked at me and said, ‘I think we’re going to be really good friends,’” he said.

Dan had ideas for his own restaurant rolling around in his head. He had thought about opening a bbq and brewery combination at some point, but while bartending at The Little Fleet he met Simon Joseph, who owned a few local restaurants, Alley’s among them. When Dan heard about it closing, it seemed like the perfect opportunity to keep a well-loved recipe and space alive.

Charles and Reid is a combination of Dan and a good friend’s middle names. The restaurant will be able to seat 48 people when it opens for dine-in.

Bobby and Dan are not trying to reinvent the wheel. They’re sticking close to the tried and true recipe, and utilizing mostly local ingredients like mushrooms from Grand Traverse Mushrooms, and microgreens from Loma Farm.

“We’re doing the pizza, but we’ll have specialty sandwiches and salads and appetizers as well. Stuff we can get more chef-y with. Anything we can’t find local in Traverse City, we’ll use Michigan ingredients instead. If we can’t find it from Michigan we’ll upscale to a premium product,” Dan said.

Charles and Reid is currently still going through renovations but will be open for takeout beginning tomorrow from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. So although there’s not yet a set date for a grand opening, you can still get your fix by calling in. If you’re yearning for local, Detroit style pizza, yearn no longer. 

Pizza dreams do come true.


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Categories: GTPulse