New Yorkers are territorial when it comes to their slices. So when two Staten Island pizza legends decide to open up a Detroit-style pie shop in the heart of Manhattan, you know they better have a good reason. Enter: Lions and Tigers and Squares—a Detroit-style pizza parlor “with a New York twist.” For Francis Garcia and Sal Basille, the masterminds behind NYC’s Artichoke Basille’s Pizza, the obsession with Detroit-style pie came from a trip to the Motor City in 2013, where they got a crash-course in the town’s unique approach to cheese, sauce, and dough.
Now, on the corner of 8th Avenue and West 23rd Street in Chelsea, the cousins are churning out square pizzas with the best of them, covering their dough with heaps of fresh cheddar cheese and baking it all in a pan. The result is something crisp, cheesy, and decidedly untraditional, as far as purists from both cities are concerned. "Detroit is a pizza city. I mean, come on. People forget that," Garcia says. "It was a combination of loving the way that it tastes, loving the way that it looks, and loving the way that it came about."