Downtown Detroit’s Library Street corridor is filling out with a new pizza spot this month. Mootz Pizzeria and Bar is set to debut on Monday, January 28, at 1230 Library St. near Vicente’s Cuban and 7 Greens Salad Co. With the opening, the Mootz team is aiming to create a New York pizza experience with a slice shop operating nextdoor to a full-service restaurant and bar.
Longtime metro Detroit pizzeria operator Tony Sacco and his business partner Dean Walters are behind the new 100-seat restaurant, which features recipes from New York pizzeria owner and restaurant consultant Bruno DiFabio. The chef worked with Mootz particularly on the Italian biga mother dough recipe, which ferments for 18 hours at room temperature and spends an additional 48 hours cold fermenting before hitting the 700-degree gas-fired oven. The result is a “very light and very airy” crust that’s crispy and flavorful, according to DiFabio.
The menu features 13 different pizzas. Options like the Starry Hope — meatballs, caramelized onions, ricotta, mozzarella, and pesto — are part of the chef’s stable of go-to combinations, while selections like the Nuts & Bolts — salami, pepperoni, tomatoes, caramelized onions, green cocktail olives, sausage, and marinara — were created in collaboration with Sacco. Diners can also expect a stable of hoagies, appetizers like prosciutto and melon, and classic Italian entrees like chicken parmigiana. To drink, Mootz Pizzeria has an extensive draft beer list alongside wine and cocktails.
Downtown Detroit has experienced a steady flow of new pizzerias over the past few years including Avalon Cafe and Bakery, La Lanterna, Brass Rail Pizza Bar, Pop Pizza, and Chicago-style entrant Giordano’s. But few have leaned into pizza by-the-slice. Mootz is aiming to change that with a slice shop the owners are calling Side Hustle, which prepares large-format, 20-inch pizzas in a small space off the main restaurant entrance. Customers can then order a slice at the counter and have it warmed up in a conveyor belt oven for an on-the-go pizza fix. The intention is also to stay open late — a smart bet, given the restaurant’s proximity to many popular downtown bars.
Notably, Mootz will offer online ordering and is perhaps one of the first examples in Detroit of a restaurant going completely cashless. The restaurant only accepts cards — a practice that some owners argue is more efficient but does prevent some customers who don’t have access to credit or debit cards from making purchases.
Mootz is leasing the space from Bedrock and worked with Carmine Martone of Martone Design Studio in Northville on the estimated $2 million buildout. The restaurant sports black booths and a bar overseen by a large black white photo of Sacco’s grandfather. A Detroit-born muralist was brought in to add a stylized pizza backdrop to the main dining room. At Side Hustle, the small counter-service area features photos of a young Sacco making pizza and a framed color photo of his mother.
Mootz is expected to begin limited services next week ahead of the official opening. Photographers Michelle and Chris Gerard visited the restaurant before its debut. Take a look around the restaurant and preview the menu below.