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New Shelby Township Pizzeria Puts Eastern European Twist on Chicago-Style Pizza

Fred's Pizza opens in Shelby Township.

Father and son Erion and Fred Gjysma have brought their own spin on the Chicago-Style pizza to Shelby Township.

The father and son duo opened Fred’s Pizza on 24 and Hayes less than a month ago. Headlining the new pizzeria is their infamous two-layered “Chicago-style stuffed” pizza.

“It has three times the amount of cheese that a normal pizza has,” said Erion Gjysma.

Erion Gjysma said he didn’t want to copy traditional Chicago-Style pizza.

“We wanted to make it our own.”

And, make it their own they did. Fred's Chicago-style stuffed pizza was inspired by their homeland – Albania.

“Byrek” is a stuffed pie that is very popular in Eastern European cuisine, said Erion Gjysma. However, the dough used in Byrek is softer and flakier.

The father and son told Patch that Albanians who settled in southern Italy in the 15th century were the first to create deep dish pizzas.

“They were probably trying to recreate Byrek using the ingredients available,” said Erion Gjysma.

The Gjysma’s opened their first Fred’s Pizza location in Fraser in 2006, after working in the Italian restaurant industry for years.  While working as a sous chef at Rosebud’s in Shelby Township and Andiamo’s, Erion Gjysma said he mastered Italian cuisine and now serves a variety of homemade pastas at the pizzeria. In addition, Fred’s Pizza serves, wings, salads and ribs.  

All Roads Lead to Shelby

For years, Erion Gjysma said he has been shopping pizzeria locations in Shelby Township because he lives in Macomb Township and has always loved the area.

“I think people in the area are looking for quality not quantity,” said Erion Gjysma. “So far, we’ve had nothing but compliments and repeat customers.”

The new pizzeria has employed six Shelby Township residents, mostly high school students.

“I like to hire kids from the local high schools so I can motivate them and teach them good work ethics,” said Erion Gjysma.

Fred’s Pizza is open for lunch and dinner Thursday through Sunday and only in the afternoon Monday-Thursday. For more information, visit www.fredspizzapie.com.

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