.Bookie’s Detroit-style Pizza is a Hit

Todd Parker’s pizza operation goes from pop-up to permanently available at Sante Adairius Brewery

Chef Todd Parker’s résumé is as thick as the crispy cheese crust on the “inauthentic” Detroit-style square-shaped pies served at Bookie’s Pizza. Before jumping into the pizza world, the Mississippi native, a Culinary Institute of America graduate, cooked at two Michelin-starred restaurants in Germany before returning to the States, where he cooked at Santa Cruz’s Bad Animal and Los Gatos’ Manresa. Then, he pivoted from fine dining to pizza. Not just any pizza. Parker’s 2021 weekly pizza pop-ups were such a hit it’s now a permanent part of the Sante Adairius Brewery operation.
Parker’s pizza and the brewery’s craft beer pair nicely with the modern-industrial space, boasting exposed ducts and beams, concrete floors, a wall of reclaimed book covers and live edge natural wood tables.
There’s good reason for the scratch-made pizza’s popularity: Parker uses organic and all-natural ingredients to churn out classic pepperoni and cheese and barbeque chicken pies, made with multiple types of mozzarellas. But he also brings some of his gourmet history to the pizza—the Mushroom Meddle is made with porcini white sauce, oyster and maitake mushrooms, preserved lemons and nettles. Bring a bib!
Hours are every day from noon-9pm (10pm Friday-Saturday). Parker dished to GT recently about his pizza and his professional experience. 

Why ‘inauthentic?’                                                

TODD PARKER: We call it “inauthentic” for a reason. We put a chef-driven artisanal spin with a California flair on a traditional Detroit-style pizza. They are served on a focaccia-style thick crust and baked in square pans. We use brick cheese that melts down the sides to create a crispy cheese crust, and even native Detroiters who try our pizza really love it.

How is Bookie’s different from the fine-dining world you came from?

Our restaurant is counter-service with an open kitchen, so you order at the bar and then come pick up the food directly from me. I really love getting to interact with every guest, see them eat and enjoy our product and get direct feedback from them. In fine dining, you don’t get that intimate interaction with the guest, and this aspect makes what I do now a lot more fulfilling. We try to take a Michelin star level of approach, dedication, finesse and attention to detail to a wider audience and offer a more approachable product. 

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Bookie’s Pizza is inside Sante Adairius Brewery, 1315 Water St., Santa Cruz, 831-246-6158; bookiespizza.com.

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