Though the Detroit-style pies are familiarly rectangular, light, airy and tall, don’t call the pizza at Hudson & Packard Sicilian. “I always tell people it’s sort of like a hybrid,” says owner and Michigan native Charlie Webb of the style. “The dough started out a Sicilian that someone put in these really deep, blue-steel pans.” Made with the same industrialized steel used in Detroit’s many auto factories, the pans are key to the style’s addictive, golden, crispy, caramelized edges. “Instead of forming a crust, we take the cheese and push it all the way to the edge of the pan, so it forms this fried cheese crust,” explains Webb.
An army recruiter, Webb traveled throughout the U.S., but “I could never find [Detroit-]style pizza no matter where I went,” he says. In 2017, he enrolled in the Culinary Institute of America, and, after graduating in 2019, he started doing Hudson & Packard pop-ups at the Underwear Factory in Poughkeepsie on Mondays. “The first one was really good, then it was hit or miss, and then it started to catch on,” he recalls. “Every week we were selling 100 pizzas in the first hour.”
A brick-and-mortar location opened in October. Designed by Amanda Baxter, the space is definitely more stylish that your standard corner pizza shop. “I was allowed all the input, but most was shot down, which isn’t a bad thing,” muses Webb. “The tables were the only thing I wasn’t willing to budge on. We got them custom-made from Workshop Detroit, and all the wood came out of the old Packard auto plant in Detroit.”
The menu is streamlined with just two salads and eight pizzas (plus a design-your-own option). Among the most popular are the Hudson Hornet, featuring pepperoni, house-pickled jalapeños, Mike’s Hot Honey, and tomato sauce, and the PYT, topped with heirloom cherry tomatoes, fresh mozzarella, pesto, and aged balsamic.
What about opening during the pandemic? “People keep asking, ‘How’s everything going?’ My response is ‘Hell of a time to open a business,’” says Webb. “I think pizzerias, by design, are set up well for takeout. Our goal is just to make enough [money] to keep the lights on until things blow over.”
Hudson & Packard
29 Academy St, Poughkeepsie