Detroit pizza finds a pop-up home with Fungool on Monkland

We tried out the other variety of deep-dish at a new spot operating out of Café Pigeon.

For whatever reason, Chicago deep dish pizza has thrived and travelled over the years, while the somewhat similar Detroit-style pizza has remained in relative obscurity. Motown’s contribution to the greasy Americanized staple — skyscraping like its Windy City brother but with toppings that go right to a rock-hard edge for a crust — has had a recent resurgence outside of its hometown, with social media and bigger American chains catching on. It even has its own entry on Michigan’s official tourism website.

Montreal’s always had a more Eurocentric or faux-New York approach to pizza, and thick-breaded kinds can be hard to find. Operating out of the Café Pigeon location on Monkland (where St-Viateur Bagel used to be), Fungool Pizza is a dinnertime temporary pop-up that specializes in this Hitsville, USA delicacy.

Started by Jordan Biberkraut, he said he fell into a Bon Appetit video black hole two Christmases ago, which pushed him into making pizzas at home. Without the gear to make a round pizza, he explored his options. “I had Detroit style in States and in Toronto from Descendant Pizza,” he said. He eventually ordered the bible of pan pizza making, Perfect Pan Pizza by Peter Reinhart, a pan from LloydPans and away he went. He was slinging ‘zas out of his apartment before setting up shop at Pigeon.

“There’s a big explosion of this style in the U.S. and around the world,” he said. “I’m excited to share this adventure with this city, who loves their pizza.”

Each Fungool pizza comes with six thick slices, and most importantly, each slice has a healthy dose of crust. The crust, which could be considered the Maniq 5 dam that keeps the generous toppings from overflowing, comes from the deep dish they’re baked in. The result is untold flavour locked in a thin, crunchy exterior. It’s the best part of the pizza in the same way as a cheese-filled crust: not a slight to the rest, but too flavourful to ignore.

Fungool Detroit pizza Montreal NDG Monkland
Fungool’s Detroit pizza

There are nine types to choose from, and most are pretty traditional (pepperoni, margherita etc.). Fungool has done their Montreal twist with the Reuben, which is basically an open-faced smoked meat sandwich topped with sauerkraut and a pickle. The Reuben may not satisfy your craving for a traditional pizza (it even has mustard and Russian dressing instead of tomato sauce), but as far as intriguing food hybrids go, it’s a keeper. Otherwise, the pepperoni and mushroom is more straight-laced, with a thick glob of tomato sauce right in the middle. Although purchased fresh from the oven, they recommend popping it in for another few minutes at home for maximum crispiness and gooiness.

Each pizza is between $18–$25, and can feed two people. There are dipping sauces available as well Café Pigeon sides like Israeli fried chicken and pigs in a blanket. What was perhaps most surprising about the pizza was that it didn’t feel overly heavy or greasy, despite appearances. The bread was fluffy and not chunky, and the smaller surface meant a manageable amount of toppings. No folding or cutting, either — each slice is perfectly handheld.

Monkland is flush with pizza options and more are coming, but Fungool has sidestepped the usual pizza discussions by doing something different. It may irk the traditionalists in town, or it may satisfy another sort of Friday night craving altogether. ■

Fungool (5625 Monkland) is open on Thursday from 5:30–9 p.m. and Friday through Sunday from 5–9 p.m. Order by phone 514-484-0062, or here.

For more on the food and drink scene in Montreal, please visit the Food & Drink section.