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Posted on Thu, Dec 23, 2010 : 5:52 a.m.

Fraser's Pub Pizza serves up terrific pies

By Will Stewart


Joquan Lopez checks on a pizza to see if it's done at Pub Pizza.

Lon Horwedel |

Like any other college town, there’s no shortage of pizza parlors around Ann Arbor.

And, like any other college town, all too many serve a pizza that more closely resembles (and tastes like) a piece of wet cardboard covered with tomato soup and something resembling melted cheese.

Sure, there are exceptions. Anthony’s Gourmet Pizza is the local king of the deep-dish pie, and Pizza House enjoys that most-rare distinction of serving a quality pizza and catering to the college crowd.

Now, we can add to that short list Pub Pizza, located inside Fraser’s Pub on Packard Road. Long a favorite for its beers, burgers and TV sports, Fraser’s now offers serves pizza that stands on a par with any pie in town.

But what makes great pizza? Like most foods, the answers are subjective. But I think we can agree that the crust — both its flavor and its texture — and sauce are key components in separating a good pie from your typical $5 takeaway special.

Ryan Palmer, Pub Pizza’s proprietor and chief pizza chef, does these important things — as well as more-subtle things — right. And the result, for our money, is the best pizza in town.

Palmer is what you might call a journeyman pizza guy. He served a years-long apprenticeship at Pizza House before launching Pub Pizza in May. He knows his way around a pizza oven, and he spent months experimenting with ingredients to find just the right mozzarella and the perfect recipe for the rich, robust sauce, both of which are keys to what make Pub Pizza so good.

Palmer said the keys are in his 17 years of experience, experimenting with different ingredients and fine-tuning his process. He also credits his decades-old Baker’s Pride oven, which he said results in a perfectly baked pie.


Pub Pizza
Inside Fraser's Pub, 3025 Packard Road

  • Hours: Monday, Wednesday and Thursday, 5 -11 p.m; Friday and Saturday, 5 p.m.-1 a.m. (Closed Sunday and Tuesday)
  • Plastic: Visa, Mastercard.
  • Liquor: Yes.
  • Prices: Inexpensive to moderate. Pizzas from $10-16.
  • Value: Excellent.
  • Noise level: Medium to high, depending on which games are on the many TV screens.
  • Wheelchair access: Yes.

But Palmer’s real gift is in what he does with a pizza crust. At Pub Pizza, crust is something more than just a canvas for sauce and cheese and toppings. The crust here has character of its own and adds to the overall flavor, not unlike the way quality bread can transform a good sandwich into a great sandwich.

Whether you’re a fan of regular or thin crust, Pub Pizza has you covered. Regular crust has just the right amount of chewiness, providing the perfect foundation for a hearty appetite. But we’re fans of thin crust, and Palmer has this down to a science. His thin crust pies are crispy and flaky, almost like a saltine cracker.

We’ve become such fans of Pub Pizza that we’ve explored its range of specialty pies, none of which has let us down. But the fun here is going through the list of toppings and creating your own masterpiece. With quality ingredients like meat from Dearborn Sausage Co., as well as unusual ingredients like artichoke hearts and fresh produce, it’s hard to go wrong.

Of course, even if you don’t like pizza (in which case you’re no friend of ours), Fraser’s Pub has lots of other quality bar food to offer, including a good burger and homemade specials that change daily.

But for something really special, stop in and treat yourself to the best pizza in town.

Will Stewart is a freelance writer who covers music (and other topics) for



Tue, Dec 28, 2010 : 12:41 p.m.

@snacks...Pub pizza is very good. CI only wins because of the what you get at the restaurant. All their other joints serve junk. Oh, and since when did your boy become pizza icon. Funny first time that moniker has ever been used to describe him.


Mon, Dec 27, 2010 : 12:59 p.m.

cottage inn is way overated.Their crust was good about 15 years ago but not now.And their sauce has an off flavor.I'm not talking about the original place.I'm talking about the delivery places.They now are on par with all the other chains

Master of the PIE!

Mon, Dec 27, 2010 : 7:09 a.m.

Aloha, and, you wish you were in a warm place! To all the beautiful people of the Duce (Ann Arbor), I bet you a fine new year! Moving on, Not to take anything away from Cottage Inn, I started eating Cottage In as a child. I remember when they were the only choice in town (27 years ago). I also remember, when Pizza House was you only choice after midnight and on a Sunday? After living in New York and The Windy City, I came home. As a Arbor child, I found this to be a crown of "Zias" in the Duce! As I, have owned, three 'Pizza Joints" in the Duce, myself, Ryan Palmer has gave back to the city of pizza! We have had our Thomas Monaghan's (Domino's), our Micheal Ilitch's (Little Ceasars)and of course, Henry Ford (The F-150). All of those men put us on the map but, they all became bland! Like a micro brew or a sweater you grandmother made. Ryan "Bubba" Palmer, has once again gave us something in a "one off" state! Something that makes us feel at home. So, to all the rookies and folks with retarded plates, I suggest expanding your taste buds and trying a Pub Pizza! I have a feeling folks are tired of ham and leftovers! Folks, Get one fo these pies before this kid starts to "mass produce" instead of make a pizza. Good Times & Boat Dreams.


Sun, Dec 26, 2010 : 10 a.m.

Snacks, it sounds like you are a Cottage Inn employee that feels jaded by a nice review for another pizza place other than yours. Pub Pizza does have really good pizza and it's a nice break from the other big time pizza joints. I like the fact that you can get a a piping hot pizza to split among friends while watching the games at the pub. We have plenty of good pizza in town and this just adds to the list.


Sat, Dec 25, 2010 : 11:28 a.m.

Cottage Inn is my favorite pizza in town, but I'll definitely give Pub Pizza a try. Some more description of the available toppings/specialty pies would have been helpful in this article.


Fri, Dec 24, 2010 : 10:06 a.m.

To Mr. stewart before you write an article you should do your research, and get your fact right. This concept Pub Pizza was, to use your words launch way before the month of may by a different pizza icon. it's this type of sloppy journalism that makes one wonder about the integrity of your newspaper. oh yeah the last time I checked Cottage Inn Pizza won the community choice award by Ann in 2010.