Tasty Tuesday: Lefty's Place

Published: Jun. 5, 2018 at 5:57 PM EDT
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"If you have a really good pizza in front of you, you can kind of forget what else is going on in your life at that point."

Lefty's Place in downtown Morgantown isn't like most pizza joints. The tiny restaurant serves up Detroit-Style pizza, a recipe that's unique to the area.

"Phenomenal food. It's really unique pizza, I mean, Detroit-style isn't something we see here a lot," said customer Zach Williams.

Owner Amel Morris has been in the restaurant business for over a decade but started making pizza just a couple of years ago while he was working in a bar. It was his fiance, Tricia, who inspired him to start making Detroit Pizza, and in December 2016, the couple and some friends opened Lefty's Place.

"Tricia and I being able to build something of our own, with the help of my partners that I have, to have something we can be proud of down the road," said Morris.

Detroit Style pizza has a long history that dates back to the 1940s.

"Back in 1945 you had soldiers coming back from World War II who had been stationed in Sicily where they had that thick, Sicilian-style pizza. They were hanging out in a bar in Detroit called 'Buddy's and they said 'Man, we wish you could make this,'" Morris said.

The auto-assembly lines in Detroit had black, steel pans that workers used to hold nuts and bolts. The owner of Buddy's had a few of those pans laying around his bar, so he put some dough in, threw on some toppings, and that's how the Detroit-style pizza was born.

"So it's a variation of the Sicilian-style, it has a thick crust with a fried texture on the bottom from the steel-pan, the cheese goes all the way to the edge to caramelize so it's nice and crunchy, pepperoni goes on the cheese so the grease soaks into the dough, then the sauce goes on top," Morris explained.

In addition to great food, Lefty's is full of great people Morris explains...there's something about pizza that brings people together and makes them smile.

"I remember being a little kid, going with my mom, dad, sister, and an aunt or uncle to get a couple of pizzas, everyone was happy, your dad and uncles have some beer, it's just like a gathering place," Morris said.

"Amel and Tricia and the staff do a great job, you feel welcome when you come in, and it's just got a nice, small-town atmosphere," Williams said.

In addition to pizza, Lefty's also serves wings and craft beer. Recently, they've added calzones as an option on their small menu.