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Inside The Kitchen at Upriver Pizza in Benzonia

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“Alright, let’s make some pizza!” said chef and owner of Upriver Pizza in Benzonia, Chris Bertram.

The dough is all homemade fresh.

It’s a recipe Chris has perfected over the years.

“It’s from our dough starter that we keep here so we don’t even buy any commercial yeast,” he explained. “We make our own yeast, and it’s all flour and water, essentially a little bit of oil, a little bit salt.”

Chirs has been making pizza for nearly two decades.

Whipping up the classics…

“Honestly, it’s that pizza sauce underneath that that makes the whole thing work,” he said.

And bringing some new flavors to Northern Michigan.

“We’re going to make a penne vodka pizza,” Chirs said.  “So once we got a good base, vodka sauce, and make sure you get the pasta in the sauce.”

Bruce Cunningham stops in about once per week, and his choice is always a toss up.

“The Detroit-style pizza, it’s almost like the crust is a cheese,” Bruce described. “The Yew York-style, the thin crust is fantastic.”

The same pizza dough is baked fresh every day for their sandwiches.

“And I mean, you end up with bread you can’t buy,” Chris said.

Co-owner Mark Deephouse says Upriver Pizza started out as a food truck in March 2020.

“Upriver Pizza started as a wood-fired oven food truck,” Mark started. “Chris built this thing, had it parked in front of his house.”

Then, this brick and mortar location opened up in Benzonia.

“It was kind of a, you know, pie in the sky idea,” Chris said.

From pie in the sky, to pies in the oven, dreams turned into reality in April 2022.

“I can’t believe we went as quickly as we did from food truck to this,” said Chris.

“It’s very nice because you come here and you meet friends here and you don’t know which friends are going to be here, but it’s also a very friendly atmosphere to come in to,” said Bruce. “You have families here, you have couples at the bar, maybe, you know, so all different kinds of groups of people.”

You could also join them Wednesday nights for Upriver Slice of Music, live music from local musicians from 6 to 8 p.m.

You can find Upriver Pizza in Benzonia at 1681 Benzie Highway or call them at 231-383-4441.

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