It seems so strange now to say but, growing up, my town had no place to enjoy a pizza. For us, it was a family outing to Goderich and the Pizza Patio. (It’s now called the Candlelight Restaurant and Tavern) When we were out with the gang or on dates, it was to a takeaway place called Frank and Gus Pizza which, sadly, hasn’t been there for years. There was another Frank and Gus Pizza in London but I hear that it’s closing down.
Looking back, there was nothing special about the Pizza Patio’s product except that it was pizza which was special in itself. Frank and Gus was awesome and the hottest pizza you’d ever get. I think that it was a combination of the toppings that were actually under the cheese and it was just a short hop down the hill to the beach to eat it in the car/truck.
Over the years, I’ve devoured many a pizza I’ll tell you but nothing really stood out. For the large part, they were from commercial places where every pizza tastes roughly the same. Even at university in Toronto, this local place that my roommate raved about in East York wasn’t memorable.
But that’s all about to change for Toronto.
I’ll tell you Toronto-folks, you’re going to want to check this out at least once.
When I moved to Essex County, I was sceptic with all the people saying I had to try local but one visit to a pizza place changed me for good. As noted in the article, pepperoni isn’t sliced; it’s shredded so there is indeed pepperoni in every bite and not just the 8 required slices. The Galati cheese is unlike cheese that you’ll find anywhere else. For most takeaway places, the pizza is made right in front of you. You see them spin the dough, put the cornmeal on the oven, and you pick the toppings very much like you would at Subway. You can see all they offer and watch them generously put it on the pie. There’s no assembly line here. You watch it all come together and then slid into the oven via pizza peel which is also used to monitor the crust to see when it’s done. No two pizzas are the same as a result of all this handicraft. They’re not plunked into a pan so you’re not going to get a perfectly round pizza.
There’s another Windsor thing that we find marries up nicely with these pizzas. In downtown Windsor, there used to be a restaurant known as the Tunnel BBQ. They were famous for their ribs and the sauce put on them. The restaurant is now closed by you can still buy the sauce which is so popular. If you’re into dipping, forego the garlic sauce at the counter and go for the TBQ hot/zesty stuff.
Now, we’re a relatively small town (22 000) but apparently we like our pizza! There are some commercial places strategically placed (like across the street from the high school) but around here, we go for the original, unique pizza places. They’ve also been good to us with our kids getting part time jobs. So, taking a wander through town, here are the places that come to mind…
The Fort, Bull’s Eye Pizza, Domino’s Pizza, Naples Pizza, Rosa’s, Chicano’s, Riccardo’s, Little Caesar’s, Capri, Armando’s, Golden Crust. In addition to this, there are other restaurants that have pizza on the menu. But, you can tell this town likes its pizza. Whenever there’s a survey about our future and wants, it’s pretty common to say “we don’t need another pizza place”!
One of the places is now offering a “Detroit Deep Dish Pizza” which I thought was a Chicago thing. As a result of going to conferences, I have tried the Chicago type and also a slice on the streets of New York City. But, give me home grown anytime.
I’ll be honest; I never thought that I’d ever blog about pizza but here I am. If you go into any community in the country, you’ll find these shops and more. As far as I can tell, they’ve survived the current dip in economics – probably because they’re takeaway by design – and I look forward to them to continue into the future.
Good luck, Toronto.