Restaurants / Openings

North Texas’ Hottest Ghost Kitchen Becomes a Full-Scale Detroit Pizza Restaurant — Thunderbird Pies Has Staying Power

These Pie Guys are Serious

BY // 01.05.21

What began as an experimental side-hustle has quickly become one of the most sought after pizzas in North Texas.

Founder and owner of Cane Rosso and Zoli’s Pizza, Jay Jerrier, along with Lee Hunzinger, the brand’s executive pizzaiolo, and chief culinary officer Jeff Bekavac had already mastered the art of true Neapolitan style pizza. They even introduced foldable New York style pizza to the area.

So they set their sights on crafting Detroit style pizza during the March restaurant dining room closures.

“Thunderbird Pies was born out of my least favorite term of the year: the ‘pandemic pivot,’ ” Jerrier wrote in a Facebook post, revealing the first brick and mortar for the new North Texas pizza variant. It will open next door to Cane Rosso White Rock at 7328 Gaston Avenue in Dallas this March.

Cane Rosso & Zoli’s founder and owner Jay Jerrier, executive pizzaiolo Lee Hunzinger and chief culinary officer Jeff Bekavac’s Thunderbird Pies are just revving up.

For the uninitiated, Detroit style is pan pizza with a light and fluffy dough, and a rich, buttery crust with tell-tale crispy caramelized cheese edges. Thunderbird Pies (with its name a nod to The Motor City) began as a ghost kitchen being run out of Zoli’s Addison location. Demand soon outstripped availability.

PaperCity detailed this Detroit pizza  push prior to the opening of Arlington’s first Cane Rosso last November. At that time, the plan was to add another ghost kitchen to fulfill the Detroit pizza stampede.

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Thunderbird Pies finds permanent home in White Rock, along with Cow Tipping Creamery.

Who could resist decadent slabs like the saucy Drip Pan slathered with hot soppressata, Motor City sausage, roasted mushrooms, caramelized onions and peppers?

When the first brick and mortar Thunderbird Pies opens this March, it will add a little sweetness to the area as well. Jerrier’s Cow Tipping Creamery, which started life as an Austin-based food truck, is now linked to his (mostly Zoli’s) pizza locations.

Cow Tipping Creamery features soft serve with a twist. Its “stackers” are perfect little soft serve sundaes in flavors such as Red Velvet Smackdown, which overflows with red velvet cake balls, red velvet soft serve, cocoa cookie crumb, brown sugar hot fudge and cream cheese frosting.

Cow Tipping Creamery’s Red Velvet Smackdown stacker.

Expect a wild assortment of original sundaes and monthly menu specials (some with local tie-ins like the Black Forest, filled with Swiss Pastry Shop’s specialty cake). Cow-Tipping Creamery also brings nostalgic swirled cones dipped in chocolate, cookie butter or birthday cake hard shells. Basically, the soft serve is merely a canvas used for some fantastical creations.

Thunderbird Pies began popping up in Fort Worth in early December as a ghost kitchen inside Zoli’s on Hulen. At the start, these Detroit pizzas were only available Tuesdays through Thursdays for pickup or delivery. But demand for the fluffy Detroit style slabs proved it had staying power. Now, you can get Thunderbird Pies seven days a week in Fort Worth.

Thunderbird Pies is proving that “P” does not just stand for pandemic pivot ― it also stands for PIZZA. Pizza that sticks around.

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