Tony Gioutsos grew up in Detroit, and since moving to San Clemente, Calif. by way of Austin, Texas, he knew he wanted to bring a taste of home to the West Coast. With the help of LloydPans, a lot of hard work and a few fateful signs along the way, Gibroni’s Pizza is gaining buzz as one of the hottest Detroit-style pizzas in Orange County.
I started Gibroni’s two-and-a-half years ago out of my garage, and one of my friends owned a Jet’s Pizza franchise. I asked her what pans they used and she said LloydPans were the best ones, so I ordered and started from there. We have all 8x10s in our kitchen.
The way it cooks the pizza dough — obviously you have to oil them correctly and clean them properly. I love the all-around cook; I tried other ones and I couldn’t get the same consistency.
I think people like new trends and doing new things. I grew up eating Detroit-style pizza, and for people in Detroit, it was normal for us. I used to live in Austin, Texas, and I saw VIA313 doing Detroit-style in Texas. I thought, ‘C’mon, this can’t be good,’ and it ended up being awesome. They are from Detroit too, and they knew what they were doing. Fast-forward six years, and I moved to Orange County, and there you have to search for good pizza.
I was working at a local brewery, and I got furloughed, so I said I’m going to create my favorite pizza from growing up, and here we are. It was a ‘now is the time’ kind of thing. I had time on my hands, so why not? I started selling the pizzas out of my house and my garage, and with the pandemic a lot of people were hesitant. But, we [along with wife Lindsey] got a huge response. We did about 40 pies two nights a week, and we’d sell out very quickly. I think people didn’t want to sit in their house, they wanted to do something different. We set up tables with candles in our driveway and served four different pizzas, paired with a Faygo drink [also native to Michigan] and made it a dining experience.
The four main things for Detroit-style pizza: it has to be square, you have to have the butter crust, the cheese must be all the way to the edges and the sauce goes on top. Of course the pans that you use make the difference. With each pizza I try to stick with those four things. Right now my favorite is The Baba, with fresh mozzarella, marinara and basil garnish. For Thanksgiving, we made a pizza with ground turkey, roasted green beans, cranberry cream drizzle and roasted rosemary. The ground turkey sits in gravy, so that’s the base and with cranberry sauce on top, that satisfies the pillars of the Detroit-style.
A few things: