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Prairie Style Pizza in Toronto?? Please??

  • p

This might sound like a weird question to anyone not from the prairies.....but does anyone know of a place in Southern Ontario that makes pizza like they do in Saskatchewan?? It is the best pizza ever made (All Dressed, cheese baked on top like a pie) and I miss it!! Places in regina like Western Pizza, Houston Pizza, etc.

Pizza in Toronto is not the same.....thin, dry, and skimpy on the toppings!!! Just Brutal. The college street italian pizza is pretty good, but Pizza Pizza...are you kidding me? It tastes like Mcain frozen pizza!

I doubt there is a place, but who knows? It would be silly to quit my job, and move back to the praries just for the pizza!! haha.


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  1. What you said really hits home for me!

    I always enjoyed the thin crust NY style pizzas here, when I visited from Edmonton.

    Now that I live here, I have had many great pizzas at Camarra and Terroni.

    However, like you, I now find myself missing the prairie-style pizzas. Why is it that we always want what we cannot have?

    Whether you know it or not, the prairie pies are based on Greek not Italian tradition. In fact, many Greeks maintain that their people invented pizza.

    To me the essentials are medium-thick crust, spicy sauce, large diameter pepperoni that is more like a summer sausage and lots of cheese that is baked to a perfect golden crust on top.

    So, does anyone know of any place, Greek or not, where we can find such pizza?

    1 Reply
    1. re: lb

      I don't know about Pairie pizza, but King David pizza at Wilmington above Sheppard makes fantastic pizza and the spinach pizza is like a pie with a double crust...fantastic.
      They may not be the same as what your looking for , but the quality and selection is so good, I recommend trying.

    2. Did you ever have any luck finding a Regina-like pizza?

      2 Replies
      1. re: rink

        Based on prairieguy's description Prairie pizza sounds like Ottawa or Montreal style pizza (thick crust, lots of quality toppings and cheese, and cheese on top), which I have been looking for since I moved to T.O. As far as I know, there is no such pizza here in Toronto. At Pizza Pizza I ask for extra cheese and still find bald spots!

        1. re: itsvince

          That's what I thought upon reading this - i.e. that prairie style pizza sounds a whole lot like Ottawa pizza, which I love dearly, being from Ottawa. (If you ever find your way up here, try Lorenzo's, which is superb.) I never found anything like it in Toronto.

      2. The only ones I can think of that come close in T.O. are Danforth Pizza House and Olympic 76 on Gloucester.

        2 Replies
        1. re: Pincus

          I can't speak to the Danforth Pizza house but Olympic 76 is NOTHING like the praire pizza you're seeking (e.g. Western, Verne's). Incidentally, I am not a fan of "praire pizza" but I enjoy Olympic 76 - their style is simliar to Copper Kettle in Regina. Praire pizza to me is like an open faced "hungry boy" sandwich, but to each their own!

          1. re: amy_whino

            Olympic 76 to me evoked Montreal pizza, although it would need a bit more cheese to get there. Never had "Prairie pizza", will have to make a trip out west some day to see what it's all about!

        2. Danforth Pizza House will definitely satisfy you - I'm from Montreal which serves a similar style. DPH put the cheese on top and isn't skimpy with the toppings, and the crust is thick and honestly one of the best I've ever tasted.

          1. I you don't mind an hour or so drive, you could head west of Toronto to Kitchener. There is a pizza place called Pepi's (somewhat of an institution there). Thicker crust, lots of cheese, real whole smoky bacon strips, etc. Zesty! Just a ridiculously good pizza. Not crazy overloaded to the extent of Houston Pizza, but out here as close as you might get. At least that I know of....

            At the end of the day, Toronto is a different place, so you might have to begrudgingly adjust to what this city has to offer it terms of its pizza. Which is certainly different than what you are used to. But I’m sure you’ll be able to fine something you like here. At this point you've had a few years ;)

            Pepi’s in Kitchener is great pie nonetheless. Might want to check it out if you feel like a drive. Great meatball sammos too.

            7 Replies
            1. re: magic

              Wow, Pepi's Pizza. My mom used to take me there after my annual piano recital in the Kiwanis Music Festival. That was seriously good pizza.

              Damn, magic! Now you've got me thinking about Pepi's...and Big John subs...and the stuffed cannelloni at Casa Rugantino...

              1. re: simplepieman

                Every weekend I say I'm going to make a Pepi's run yet I never do. I must change this :)

              2. re: magic

                Sounds great, I will def check it out during next trip to St. Jacob's Mkt.

                1. re: magic

                  Pepi's has a really sweet sauce, and I think sauce is integral to the overall pizza experience. I don't enjoy it fresh for that reason, and I don't know how it stacks up to the prairies. But it does have a nice fluffy crust, and is one of the best "morning after" pizzas going. Easily a pizza to pack up in your trunk for after the journey home.

                  1. re: urbnmns

                    Are all 3 locations of Pepi's serving equally good pizza? Thinking about picking one up, next time I drive through KW.

                    1. re: prima

                      I don't get there often but when I do I go to the Water St. location in Kitchener. No idea about the other locations. The King St. location is pretty much just takeout. Water St. location has tons of character.

                      Get the Reeses Pieces pie if they still bring it in. Sooooo good.

                      Great place.

                      1. re: prima

                        Sorry, like Magic, I've only had the Water St. pizza as well. (And per above, only like it cold!)

                  2. Dear Prairieguy,

                    If you want Saskatchewan style pizza, go to Jawny Baker's. I've been out west a lot, and this is the only true prairie pizza to be had in Toronto. It is....YUM! Oddly (or not), you'll have to come east to get it, all the way to St. Clair and O'Connor, but oh, so worth the hike. I love the bar, too, fireplace, nice vibe and good wine list.....enjoy!

                    8 Replies
                    1. re: carlaspallette

                      the jawny baker menu does NOT sound like this is going to be the kinda of pizza we're hunting for here:

                      GOURMET PIZZA

                      The Big Five Calzone
                      Spicy sausage, pepperoni, mushroom, roasted red pepper, red onion, tomato sauce and mozzarella cheese. $14.89

                      Max & Tony's
                      Roasted garlic and herb sauce, spicy sausage, bacon, red onion and mozzarella cheese. $13.89

                      Roma Chicken
                      Chicken, prosciutto, red onion, Kalamata olives, basil, tomato sauce and mozzarella cheese. $15.49

                      Roasted Vegetable
                      Grilled zucchini, red onion, roasted red pepper, basil, tomato sauce and mozzarella cheese. $13.49

                      so these are single serving pies? to me, the toppings don't sound right. what is the crust like?

                      i'm looking for something like this

                      1. re: bellybuster

                        Given that photo, I'd re-suggest Danforth Pizza House. It has a similar cheese-on-top (and lots) appearance. Plus, he cooks the pizza a lot so that the cheese is browned. I, personally, find the crust too charred (but, then, I don't like toast beyond golden). Otherwise it would be my go-to pizza all the time. As it is, I still get it a few times a year because the browned cheese is soooo good.

                        NB: I have not had pizza on the Praries other than a delivery Boston Pizza while at a motel in Brandon (which was awful BTW).

                        1. re: bellybuster

                          Oh my lord the dough balls. Haven't had those since Kingston, but they are so much fun to gobble down. I agree with Atahualpa. Danforth Pizza House is the closest I've seen in Toronto to that photo.

                          1. re: Pincus

                            just picked up a pizza from danforth pizza house. it was great and i'm definitely getting warmer. the hunt will continue.
                            here'e a pic of the DPH pie!

                            1. re: bellybuster

                              I remember a time when the kind of pizza in that pic was fairly easy to find in Toronto.


                              1. re: magic

                                I was thinking the same thing, magic. That and..

                                Damn you Pizza Pizza for ruining pizza. Damn you on behalf of all of us that live within your delivery range. Damn you on behalf of all of the craftsmen that once could make a tidy profit making a respectable product.

                                1. re: Googs

                                  I have this theory that Pizza Pizza makes their sauce so sickeningly sweet because it appeals to the kids, and once the kids are hooked, the parents follow.

                                  I agree totally that Pizza Pizza is not something I respect except as a shrewd franchise churning out mediocre product.

                              2. re: bellybuster

                                bellybuster have you had anymore luck finding a western style pie?

                        2. this style pizza does sound like style you get in the east (montreal, ottawa, halifax, etc....being originally from Halifax I would kill for this type of pizza, cheesey/saucey/lots of toppings/medium crsut - we have literally driven all over the city trying all the usual suspects and so far nothing is even close, we live near danforth pizza house and his pizza is good, but find it super over-cooked, however from talking to our torontonian friends, seems like people here like pizza well-done!! We've tried to get the fellow that bakes them at danforth pizza house to undercook ours, but can tell it really upsets/annoys him so have just stopped going....if you can get him to undercook they are 'close', or at least as close as we could find, still nowheres near what we like though, definitely not enought toppings.

                          so, i grew up in family that ran many pizzerias in nova scotia am starting to think there's some room for this style pizza here!!

                          4 Replies
                          1. re: pippineast

                            anyone know anything about "sault ste marie's aurora's pizza"? there is a sign saying it is COMING SOON to a storefront near college and grace. a cursory web search seems to indicate that aurora's was once a much loved pizzeria (like, in the 60s-80s?) in the Soo.

                            1. re: bellybuster

                              Has this opened? What restaurant is this??

                              1. re: neilbaylor

                                It has come and gone. I think it closed well before bellybuster's post. The sign stayed up for a while, but now it's becoming something else. I don't know what

                                1. re: Delish

                                  bahhhh. Aurora's pizza, and Soo Pizza in general is amazing. I wish a place in Toronto used the recipe. Thanks for the response though.

                          2. Danforth Pizza House is very good pizza but not quite what you're looking for. I've been in Toronto 10+ years - and am left craving prairie style pizza. Think Saskatoon's Venice House/Family Pizza.

                            If you find what you're looking for please let us know!!

                            Danforth Pizza
                            920 Danforth Ave, Toronto, ON M4J1L9, CA

                            1. OMG! I so know what you mean! Ontario pizza places are so skimpy on the toppings! But at least the sauce isn't sweet like at Vern's out west. Seriously!? Sweet tomato sauce? The closest I've come is Papa John's which I also remember from out west although we mostly got it from Family Pizza in Warman.

                              7 Replies
                              1. re: Pepper1152

                                I had a sweet tomato sauce from a long gone pizza place as a kid growing up and it remains one of the best pizzas i've ever had, to this day! it actually works, for me at least

                                1. re: Pepper1152

                                  I think that the skimpy on the toppings thing is a GTA phenomenon, not sure why. Ottawa places are generally much better, like Gabriel's - they actually told me not to get double cheese once because they already put so much on there!

                                  1. re: itsvince

                                    Skimpy on the toppings is an Italy thing. You won't find much pizza in Italy loaded with toppings. It has more to do with the quality of toppings on Toronto pizzas/low quality crust, cheese and sauce. Western style pizza overcompensates with the lowest quality meat and toppings they can find(Verns pizza meat is really bad) and is closer to a sandwich IMHO. They are good, don't get me wrong, but compared to pizza done in italy they are a bloated sick mess. If the ingredients have quality there is no reason to pile them on. Unfortunately most GTA pizza lacks quality and quantity.

                                    1. re: ThoughtForFood

                                      I don't think Western-style pizza "overcompensates with the lowest quality meat and toppings they can find".

                                      It's a different product for a different market.

                                      Most of the better Sask-style pizza places in Saskatchewan are owned by Greek Canadians who have never been to Italy, and have never eaten any Napoli-style pizza. Slices are about 2-3 inches thick, with a 1/-2 inch to 1inch thick doughy crust, a layer of tomato sauce, an inch of cooked ham and/or other meats, topped by a half inch of mozzarella. Most slices in Saskatchewan (where I eat SK-style pizza 2 or 3 times each year) weigh in around 1/4 lb-1/3 lb, providing more calories than an entire pizza Napoletana. 2 slices is a meal for most people. This is what many Western Canadians grew up with, and expect, and they'd be disappointed with a flimsy, "authentic" pizza, the way it's done in Napoli.

                                      I like Western pizza for what it is. And I like GTA pizza for what it is, and Southwestern Ontario pizza for what it is. If a pizzeria is selling Hawaiian or Canadian pizza, they probably are making pizzas for their market, and couldn't care less what the Neapolitans are selling to their clients.

                                      Not sure why so many Chowhounds think Napoli-style pizza is the ideal, and that all regional takes on pizza should be compared to Italian or more specifically, Neapolitan pizza. Or that pizza has one ideal formula.

                                      And sometimes, depending on who made the pizza, regional pizza tastes better than "authentic" pizza! Sometimes "authentic" pizza tastes burnt!

                                      1. re: prima

                                        Well said.

                                        Saying there is only one kind of true pizza is utterly absurd.

                                        1. re: prima

                                          Here here.
                                          Well said Prima.

                                          1. re: prima

                                            When we are looking for the best of something, there is always going to be a standard that we hold as the best and what we could compare it too (opinions may differ).
                                            If you read what I wrote, I did say Western style pizza is good. I lived out west until I was 25 and still have cravings for that style of pizza. I would never say there is only one TRUE pizza or that western pizza/ greek style pizza doesn't have its benefits. Unlike the westerners that are disappointed with high quality ingredients and the lack of them, I like both styles. But lets be real here ,napoli style is far more refined and takes far more dedication than a sloppy western style pizza. Chowhounds are giving credit where it is due. It takes dedication to quality ingredients and technique to make a pizza reminiscent of what you will find in Napoli. I have trying for years to make my own at home and have come close, but again its a lot of work. Making a greek pizza is far more dedication to greasing the inside of a pan and quantity of toppings. Its just an easier pie to make, which again doesn't make it not a REAL pizza or bad. They both have their place, but in my opinion a napoli pizza done well is a thing of beauty while Western pizza is what you eat when you are drunk.
                                            For anyone craving greek style pizza out east, I have resorted to making my own. I found this excellent recipe which can turn out better than your favorite places out west. Check it out and see for yourself how easy(and good) it is. http://www.seriouseats.com/recipes/20...