Just one day a week, Tiny Champions offers Detroit-style pizza

The popular Houston East End restaurant breaks the pizza mold on Wednesday nights, and often sells out before the night is over.

Photo of Megha McSwain
Tiny Champions offers Detroit-style pizza by the slice on just one day a week.

Tiny Champions offers Detroit-style pizza by the slice on just one day a week.

Tiny Champions

When the team behind Nancy's Hustle, one of Houston's most lauded restaurants, opened a pizzeria called Tiny Champions in 2020, naturally, expectations for stellar pies and slices were high. Would the toppings stray from tradition? Would the pepperonis cup ever-so-slightly, mimicking those of famed slices from around the country? Would the crust leave a lasting impression? The low-key East End hangout ended up impressing with all this and more, and even slings Detroit-style pizza one day a week, often selling out before the night is over.

Tiny Champions is one of the best places in Houston to get pizza, Detroit-style or otherwise.

Tiny Champions is one of the best places in Houston to get pizza, Detroit-style or otherwise.

Alison Cook / Staff

Every Wednesday, beginning at 5 p.m., two varieties of Detroit-style pizzas are offered by the square for $8 apiece, and are available on a first come, first served basis, for dine-in and carry-out. The special is promoted on the restaurant's social media channels, with a description of each week's offerings detailed in the posts.

The Detroit-style pies are made using the same dough and oven as Tiny Champions' popular round pizzas, but the technique differs. To produce the signature square-shaped slices, the pizza is baked in a rectangular pan, with the bottom glazed in olive oil, so that the crust browns as it cooks. Brick cheese—traditional for Detroit-style pizza—is used, and as it bakes, it melts into the sides of the pan resulting in a hearty rectangle-shaped pie with crisp, cheesy edges.

Tiny Champions first launched the specialty pizza as a trial back in January. The one-night special was limited to guests dining at the bar, and according to a post on Instagram, they sold out in 30 minutes. By February, it officially became a weekly thing.

Following along on social media is the best way to get a hint at what's cooking each week. After nearly a year of offering Detroit-style pizzas on Wednesdays, Tiny Champions has almost 15 different varieties in its rotation.

The dining room at Tiny Champions in the East End.

The dining room at Tiny Champions in the East End.

Alison Cook / Staff

It's anyone's guess as to which pizzas will make an appearance from week to week, but previous varieties include the vegetarian, topped with broccoli rabe, leeks, shallots and roasted onions; the Italian Sub-ish, made with soppressata, ham, banana peppers, red bell peppers, onions and pepper relish; and the tomato sauce-based Meaty Lover Delight, with cupping pepperoni, sausage, onions and garlic.

As a nod to Nancy's Hustle and the cult following its famed Nancy's Burger has, there is even a pizza called Nancy's Burger Our Way, which combines burger crumbles, American cheese, Dijonnaise, red onions and pickles, showcasing all of the wonderful flavors of the beloved burg atop a fluffy pizza crust. 

If you're wondering if Tiny Champions is one of those snooty places that frowns upon eating ranch with pizza, they are far from it. In fact, most of the Detroit-style slices are presented with the restaurant's own "ranchinera" sauce, a concoction combining ranch dressing and marinara, for quite possibly the most quintessential pizza dipping sauce ever served.

Tiny Champions

Find it: 2617 McKinney St, Houston, TX 77003; (713) 485-5329
Hours: Tuesday-Thursday, 5-10 p.m.; Friday-Saturday, 5-11 p.m.; Sunday, 5-10 p.m.

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