Pizza Influencer Interview: Tony Gioutsos of Gibroni’s Pizza

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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. 

How did you first hear about LloydPans? 

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. 

What’s the technical difference maker?

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. 

A few West Coasters are bringing Detroit-style to this area. What is it about this style that is so special?

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. 

The pandemic changed a lot for you.

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.

How do you decide what makes it on the menu at Gibroni’s?

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. 

You’ve had some accolades in the short time you’ve been in business, including second place as the Best Pizza in San Clemente. To what do you attribute the buzz?

A few things: 

  1. The pizza being good is No. 1 for any restaurant. With our marinara sauce — I’m biased because I make it — but it’s the best I’ve ever had. I won’t give anyone the recipe, and we’re going to start canning it. 
  2. The dough took us a while; Detroit dough is really fragile, but it’s so good.  
  3. The fact that I worked at a local brewery before I started this helps; I know a lot of people. 
  4. The garage start helped; I knew people from media outlets that helped us to get going. Hopefully we can get Gold this year. 

Help Gibroni’s win Gold for Best Pizza in San Clemente! Vote for Gibroni’s here. To stock up on Detroit-Style LloydPans before the holiday rush, email sales@lloydpans.com to place your order.

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