DETROIT, Jan. 23 (UPI) -- An industrial utility pan maker moved to Mexico, leaving Detroit pizza parlors scrambling for equipment to make their special pizza, restaurateurs said.
The pan, made of blue steel for decades by an unnamed, small West Virginia company, is the special "ingredient" for Detroit-sytle pizza, the Detroit Free Press reported Sunday. Now the pans may be made in Michigan by another company.
Restaurant supply companies have for many months had backlogged orders on the pans, which the relocated manufacturer had several times since October would soon be available, but production still has not gotten going, the Free Press said.
"You wouldn't even believe how many pans we have on back order" -- at least 4,000 small and medium sizes and 700 extra larges, said Patti Domasicwicz at People's Restaurant Equipment, who said she hasn't gotten a shipment since April.
"All of us would have ordered a whole lot in before they moved, but they didn't give us a chance," Domasicwicz said on behalf of other pizzerias in Detroit.
The blue steel pans –- so named because of the tint of the metal when it's new – "have a way of capturing the flavors in the metal" in a way other pans don't, said says Wes Pikula, Buddy's Pizza vice president of operations.
But Eugene Jett, cofounder of the Jet's Pizza chain, had the pans analyzed by a laboratory and found a Michigan manufacturer to make some.
"They're cutting them as we speak," said Jett last week.