The Rec Pizzeria shows off Detroit cuisine

The S.O.P. is topped with Italian sausage, red onion and bell pepper and is $9 to $19. (Photos courtesy The Rec Pizzeria)

Mark Gluck was hungry and couldn’t decide what he wanted. So he did what a lot of folks do: went down the internet rabbit hole. But what he discovered was life changing.

He found Detroit-style pizza — a rectangular pie with an extra thick, crisp crust that’s crispy on the bottom. A longtime pizzeria employee, Gluck put his own spin on the Detroit special with The Rec Pizzeria.

“I was really hungry one night and I was on the internet,” Gluck said. “I caught wind of this pizza and people say it’s the best pizza they ever had. They were right.”

Detroit natives have flocked to The Rec since it opened a mere eight weeks ago in Peoria.

“We’ve been slammed,” he said.

“The other day, the line was out the door. We’re small, but that’s still significant.”

Gluck uses quality ingredients like organic cane sugar and salt. Instead of olive oil, he uses avocado oil, which he said is healthier. The red sauce has a touch of spice with the addition of red peppers.

The Michigan culture goes beyond pizza. He has a variety of Faygo flavors — Redpop, Rock & Rye, cream soda, cotton candy, raspberry blueberry, pineapple watermelon, pineapple orange, pineapple and peach — for $2.50 for 23-ounce plastic bottles. Cans are $1.25 and he has Faygo root beer and Vernors, as well as Dr. Pepper, Sprite, Coke and Diet Coke. Gluck is an Arizona native, but he still knows to call it “pop.”

The 13 pizzas are reasonably priced, with a plain cheese pizza ranging from $6 to $14, depending on the size. Others include The Detroiter (cheese and pepperoni); The White Pizza (with ricotta, garlic and thyme); The Hatch (with pulled pork, hatch chile sauce and crema fresca); The Spicy Pickle and Bacon (with Frank’s Red Hot, bacon, dill pickle and garlic); The Chicken, Broccoli & Cheddar (cheddar, pesto, broccoli and chicken); The S.O.P. (Italian sausage, red onion and bell pepper); The North Shore (pulled pork, bacon and pineapple); The ‘Cue (barbecue sauce, pulled pork, bacon and crispy fried onions); The Buffalo Chicken (Frank’s Red Hot, bleu cheese crumbles and chicken); The Veggie (red onion, bell pepper, black olive and mushroom); The Triple Meat (pepperoni, Italian sausage and bacon) and The Pesto, Chicken and Sausage.

Cauliflower crust is available as a 10-inch round pizza and pricing is the same as a medium pizza. He also has smoked — not fried — chicken wings, cheesy breadsticks and breadsticks.

To hone his skills, he visited his friend in Ypsilanti, Michigan, and went on a tour of pizza joints in suburban Detroit such as Buddy’s, a Great Lakes State fixture.

The Rec has a music theme, with a bass on the wall that Gluck built with his father. Motown 45s, and mosaics of Johnny Cash and Bob Marley created by Gluck greet guests. The menu is surrounded by a painting of a guitar cable.

Gluck is hoping to expand The Rec to downtown Phoenix. With the established store, he’s considering acquiring the empty space next door so he can have tables inside. There are a few barstools inside and a table, as well as seating in front.

“We’ve been successful here, so I’m hoping I can expand,” he said. “But I’m going to let this one sit for a while.”