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The verdict is in: Reno is big enough for two Detroit-style pizza joints


Detroit-style pizza, or DSP, is having its moment in Reno. 

First developed in the Motor City and more closely resembling Sicilian pizza, this pan-style version of meat and cheese is popping up all over town.

R-Town Pizza is the newest joint to hit the scene, exclusively serving DSP pies, but before R-Town there was Pizzeria Lupo, a Mark Estee-owned establishment that shares space with The Loving Cup.

On California Avenue, DSP is available but so is the more traditional triangle-cut Neapolitan-style pizza. DSP (and Neapolitan pizzas) can be purchased whole or by the slice at Pizzeria Lupo. You can even throw it in a combo and add a salad or wings for $10 or $15 respectively, plus a fountain drink.

One of the big draws of Pizzeria Lupo is its location, making it easy to grab a slice of pizza or enjoy a casual dinner before hitting up its neighbor for a few drinks. The Loving Cup with its lively stage and full bar is known to get rowdy, and Pizzeria Lupo is playing to the crowd with easy meals offered until 9 or 10 p.m. (depending on the night). 

Keep in mind, it’s closed on Mondays and Tuesdays. 

It’s a casual pizza joint with a walk-up counter and no-frills dining room. You can cut the small talk, order your pie and be seated and served pretty quickly. 

The establishment also stays busy during lunch. With just a few tables, seats fill up fast as patrons throw back Neo-Neapolitan pies made with 100% organic dough and brought to life on an electric deck oven or high-hydration dough DSP slices made in a traditional rectangular Blue Steel Pan.

The pan is more important than you’d think in turning out the light and airy crust DSP is known for. Think back to those French bread pizzas you used to get served up in school, except actually delicious. 

Chalkboard specials at Pizzeria Lupo include things like boneless wings with a selection of sauces that vary in heat and get their own hotness rating scale. Image: Mike Alt

The dough process is also important, left to sit for a day before it’s cooked to perfection. The end result is a crispy, golden-brown crust topped with caramelized melted cheese before a smattering of crushed tomatoes and toppings are added.

And yes, we said the cheese goes on before the crust—pizza enthusiasts feel free to start debating this more-popular-than-you’d-think method.

By the slice, patrons can choose DSP or Neapolitan in cheese, pepperoni or a specialty slice. If you’re committing to a whole pie, your options expand. You can create your own or go with a signature. 

Flavors include the DSP-style Pineapple Express (white cheddar, mozzarella, pineapple, Liberty artisan capicola and pickled jalapeño, topped with tomato sauce) and Burrata (white cheddar and mozzarella cheese blend topped with tomato sauce, EVOO, burrata and basil). Neapolitan pies have their own line-up of concoctions; think Bee Sting, roasted veggie, Three Pigs and potato & pancetta. 

Vegan cheese and gluten-free crust are also available on the Neapolitan-style pizzas.

While pizza is the main attraction here, it’s not the only menu item worth trying. A chalkboard sign announces specials that we fear are not permanent given their erasable presentation. The specials do make it easy to try a few different items on the cheap, however.

We suggest diving into the jumbo smoked wings or boneless variety smothered in your choice of sauce. Carolina Gold is a personal favorite, but you can get creative with it too with mild sauces like Memphis Dry Rub and the slightly sweet BBQ sauce. From there, things heat up with Calabrian hot honey, gochujang, green chile, Frank’s Original and ultra hot Tomas. To make it easy, each sauce is designated 1-4 on the hot meter so you can choose accordingly. 

Salads, mozzarella sticks and cheesy garlic bread are also available, but the next most popular menu item just may be the ice cream. A soft-serve machine serves up dessert and a slew of toppings (offered at 50 cents each) make the simple dessert customizable to any taste buds. There are the go-tos like M&Ms, Oreo cookie crumbles and chocolate sauce, but instead of sprinkles, you’ll have the chance to dive into bourbon cherries, balsamic glaze, EVOO, sea salt and more.

Regardless of what you order it’s always something that feels eerily simple before Estee puts his signature flavor into it, turning out menu items that are more special than they appear at first glance. 

One thing is for sure though, you won’t leave hungry.


190 California Ave, Reno, NV 89509
Wednesday, Thursday & Sunday 11:30 a.m. to 9 p.m.
Friday & Saturday 11:30 a.m. to 10 p.m.

Nora Tarte
Nora Tarte
Nora Heston Tarte is a long-time Reno resident living on the southside of town. In addition to food, her hobbies include wine, hiking, yoga and travel. She is also the managing editor of a regional, lifestyle publication and freelances for other publications most frequently in the travel space. Nora received her bachelor's in Journalism from California State University, Sacramento before graduating from University of Nebraska, Lincoln with a master’s in Professional Journalism. You can follow her travel adventures, and local exploits, on her Instagram account @wanderlust_n_wine.