Blog: Dave Mancini

The Detroit Free Press recently voted Supino's Pizzeria tops in Metro Detroit (no small feat, given the competition; GQ ranks Detroit as third-best pizza city in the U.S.). Dave Mancini, Supino's chef and owner, gives the Kitchen Confidential tour of his Eastern Market gourmet pizza place and dishes on his favorite local businesses.

Post 3: I gotta say, it was a good day (sorry, Cube)

A couple of months ago on an unseasonably lovely Monday, I wandered into Curl Up & Dye on Cass north of Willis in Midtown (helping Detroiters look like Detroiters awesome tagline from this fantastic little salon's Myspace page) for my semiannual haircut without an appointment (because that's sort of how I operate). I was told I would have a 45 minute wait. So how to entertain myself for a bit?  

Then it occurred to me that this is one section in Detroit that has newly established the sort of 'walkable neighborhood
retail density' that we all get geeked about.  Just around the block on Canfield I went to grab a beer at Motor City Brewing Works.  On my way there, I passed two stores that, like my business, are closed on Mondays. But most days of the week, you can check out beautiful, locally crafted art and gifts and vintage clothes at City Bird, or fantastic design elements for your home, curated by the eminently tasteful Claire at the Bureau of Urban Living next door.  I finished my beer and cruised around the block, past the Avalon Bakery (their bear claw pastries are the greatest) on to Goodwell's, a natural foods store par-excellence, and home to one of the tastiest avocado sandwiches you'll ever sink your teeth into.  Now I'm a carnivore, but this is one vegan meal that can satisfy my people.  I still had four minutes left as I walked by another anchor of this neighborhood, the Spiral Collective, and got back just in time to get a great haircut while listening to the owner drop the occasional f-bomb, one of the particular charms of this place.

So, I was really excited – and this is not even mentioning a soon-to-open, artisanally-minded Corridor Sausage Co. (did I mention I'm a meat eater?), rumors of another brewery in this same block, and a take-out branch of Slow's (um, did I mention my carnivorous habits?)

I love living here – I can walk to the Burton Theater from my home, see an always interesting, sometimes disgusting, sometimes funny-as-hell film and then discuss it with the guys who own the place – have you ever discussed a film with Mr. Loeks?  Me neither (yeah, I know he doesn't still have a partnership in the Star theaters, but it's the only name I could come up with – which strengthens my point further!)

At the initial conception of my pizzeria, I knew I wanted to open in Detroit – I had lived in the city for about four years at that point and it was becoming clear what people now mean when they say Detroit is like a small town in a big city.  I saw the same people at my local haunts all of the time and I knew the guys who owned establishments that I frequented.  This is night-and-day for me – I grew up in Troy, which is essentially a 6x6 mile grid populated by strip malls, office complexes, and residential subdivisions.  It's come full circle for me – I love that I know many of my customers by name.

The even better news is that I continually hear about exciting new projects in development.  Keep an eye out for Astro Coffee. You may have caught a small feature on bean-brewing genius Dai Hughes in a prior issue of Model D.  That's one of nine or 10 great ideas that I've been hearing about in recent months.  
I know Detroit is still a bit rough around the edges, but it's like the mole that accentuates the beauty of the model.  OK, so there's a whole lot of moles – but the model is only getting hotter! 

*Supino's will be closed from March 14-29 so Dave can do some R&D in Italy