The Detroit-style pizzas selling out in seconds in Sunderland - here's how to get one

Detroit-style pizzas are selling out in seconds in Sunderland after launching in Lockdown.

Saturday, 13th March 2021, 7:00 am

Midnight Pizza Cru’s pizzas are three times the thickness of the average pizza and they’re proving a hit with hungry Mackems who are snapping up collection slots soon after they go live.

The business is the brainchild of Dan Shannon who, after losing his hospitality job due to Covid, began making the American deep pan pizza for friends and family.

He managed to perfect the distinctive dough of the rectangular pizzas, akin to a focaccia, and baked it in steel pans to give it an extra crisp edge.

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Midnight Pizza Cru in the Ship Isis kitchen.

It proved such a hit he began receiving orders from the general public and he’s now started making them at the kitchen at Ship Isis pub in Silksworth Row where people can collect them from the back door.

Speaking about the deep pan delicacy, which you’ll struggle to find north of Manchester, Dan said: “The style evolved from a Sicilian-style pizza. The story goes that in the automotive factories the fellas in the factories had steel drip trays under the cars, for bolts and oil.

"Apparently they would take them home and the wives would make pizzas in them. The blue steel retains the heat really well and helps give the crisp edge that’s a real characteristic of the pizza.”

Dan’s signature pizzas are the Sun City, named after Sunderland, and topped with triple cheese, chorizo, pepperoni, pickled jalapeño, red onion, Midnight Pizza Cru sauce, ricotta, hot honey and grana padano and the Motor City, named after Detroit, and topped with triple cheese, sauce, basil oil and grana padano.

Adding the final touches to the Motor City pizza

He also does specials with this week’s being the Fabio I Used 2 Love Ya, named after former Black Cat Fabio Borini and topped with blue cheese bechamel, triple cheese, pickled pear, gorgonzola, toasted walnut and white truffle balsamic.

Pizzas are £12 for a four square pizza or £22 for eight squares – but Dan has never known anyone be able to eat all eight slabs in one sitting.

He releases collection slots for a Saturday night on the Midnight Pizza Cru Instagram page during the week, with all 40 pizzas usually going in under eight minutes.

Dan, who is already sold out for this week, said: “The response has really taken me by surprise. I guess it’s because it’s something new here, I certainly don’t know of any places north of Manchester that are doing it.

Dan Shannon making Detroit-style pizzas, a signature of which is sauce on top of the cheese.

"I think a lot of people are being creative at this time. Lockdown gives you the head space to think about what you want to do, it’s been a nice thing to come from all this.”

A former member of bands including Drifts and Rivals, the name of the business comes from a name Dan and his mates had for a gang of them that would stay up late after gigs eating pizza.

Moving forward, he’s exploring how he can evolve the business and is looking at collaborations with places such as Scream for Pizza in Newcastle.

In the meantime, if you want a piece of the pie, you’ll have to look out for announcements on the Instagram page @midnight_pizza_cru

Dan Shannon with the four-square pizzas. Pizzas are made in the kitchen at Ship Isis and can be collected from the back door of the pub.

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The Sun City spicy pizza is named in honour of Sunderland
The pizzas are baked in steel pans
The pizza slots are snapped up soon after being released.
The four square pizzas.
Fabio I Used 2 Love Ya, named after Fabio Borini and topped with blue cheese bechamel, triple cheese, pickled pear, gorgonzola, toasted walnut and white truffle balsamic.
Motor City, named after Detroit, and topped with triple cheese, sauce, basil oil and grana padano.