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Danforth Pizza House for sale

Assuming that fellow East Yorkers / Danforth types / pizza junkies will find this of interest: http://www.christinesimpson.com/Prope...

Apparently, the long-serving pizza business is for sale along with the building.

This will be a real loss for the neighbourhood.

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  1. oh nos.
    are they still open until sold?

    1. I had ordered pizza around 4 times after Angelo passed away, and never found it as good. They seemed to be skimping on ingredients. I ordered from there frequently enough to easily notice the difference. I decided that with the increased price and decline in the pizza, it was not worth ordering from there any longer. I had meant to ask here if anyone else had noticed it, but didn't really want to mention it. But now that it is for sale, I'm not so worried to say what I think. (just like Jen from BH )

      11 Replies
      1. re: foodyDudey

        We, along with a bunch of neighbours in the area feel that the pizza is just as good as before.

        It is Angelo's son that is running the place, and as far as I understand, he's been involved for some time, even before Angelo passed away.

        The place is still open and will remain that way until they find a suitable buyer.

        1. re: millygirl

          Maybe I just went on 4 occasions when it was not the same! Yes I know it is his some running it.

          1. re: millygirl

            Very good- but not quite as good.

            It's the crust. Missing the same beautiful, just-shy-of-burnt char on the bottom. But in fairness, Angelo was making pizzas the better part of 50 years. Dude could make the perfect pizza by sound.

            1. re: biggreenmatt

              Thanks Matt, I knew I was not imagining it! Did you notice a bit less ingredients also?

              1. re: foodyDudey

                No. Just differences in the crust. Very slight, but the difference between an A and an A+.

                The nice thing is that they accommodate requests for lots of burnt cheese, which was one of the main draws for me.

                1. re: biggreenmatt

                  Many people will probably not notice any difference. What I remember is the crust was rather floppy, not like it was a year back, and there were less ingredients on it than previously. But still good for the average customer.

                  1. re: foodyDudey

                    Of course we all know, you are not the average customer Fd

              2. re: biggreenmatt

                He also insisted on baking it as long as it took, no matter how many hungry people were waiting around staring, or how much business he was missing. I can easily see how those extra few oven minutes would be the first thing to go given their limited oven space and hungry crowds.

            2. re: foodyDudey

              I just had a pizza today from here that is nothing close to what I would get in the past. Extremely stingy on ingredients...absolutely not worth it at this price for what I got. My wife and I were huge fans of this place.

              The cheese didn't even extend all the way to the crust. Imagine a ring just inside the pizza crust, about the thickness of the actual crust....all that area had no cheese at all. Seemed like the cheese was overcooked, maybe thats why it wasn't really melty and stringy the way pizza cheese should be. So every bite you took, the entire toppings/cheese layer would slide right off the pizza unless you held it there with your hand.

              The crust was very floppy, and thinner than it used to be.

              1. re: szw

                Looks like you got the same sort of pizza that I did, and have the same opinion. It's amazing that Angelo's son has inherited a gold mine and didn't keep things as they were. The pizza he is charging $25 for can't cost $5 to make, and the store was probably paid off by 1980, so there is no need to skimp on ingredients. But no problem, all millygirl's neighbours will keep him in business.

                1. re: foodyDudey

                  we've been regular customers for years. i'd say the pizza is marginally less magnificent than it used to be.
                  the crust - well, the crust was magic when angelo was alive - is not quite as good,but i can't say i've noticed a change in the amount of toppings, at least not on what we've ordered the last 2-3 times.
                  can't comment on price tho. we always gave angelo $25 for a medium pie as that was what is was worth to us.

            3. Haven't been by, but this is sad news indeed. Another classic pizza place gone.

              1. oh. moved into the hood about 2 years ago and went only once, actually exactly a year ago today. thought it was a really good place. Angelo was cool, made an awesome pie. rip

                3 Replies
                1. re: filtered

                  very sad. i used to go often when i lived on the danforth, but haven't been since angelo passed away. shame it went downhill.

                  1. re: barnes1852

                    I think downhill is a bit of a stretch, actually. They are in there busting their asses and it's pretty clearly a labour of love and respect for what was.

                    1. re: julesrules


                      Not exactly the same, but it can't be exactly the same. Still a good hunk of fat, carb and protein to stick into yer pie hole.

                2. When restaurants are sold and the person doing the cookingand/or management of the place is no longer there, it is basically a sale of the assets (ie furniture, plates, stoves, etc) and not a sale of the restaurant in terms of it being the same as before.

                  17 Replies
                  1. re: Flexitarian

                    In this case, the asset is a pizza oven. Based on the listing they are trying to sell 1) the building 2) the reputation of the pizza.

                    1. re: julesrules

                      If the guy who built the reputation is not included in the sale, # 2 above is worth $0, not $129K as they are asking for the pizza business. The pizza oven may be worth $2K tops now, the other chattels only have sentimental value.

                      1. re: foodyDudey

                        Oh come on, the low boy is prolly worth $150 as well. ;)

                        1. re: LexiFirefly

                          hahaha. nothing funnier than laughing at others misfortune.
                          can't imagine why jen egg has no respect for this site

                          1. re: Main334bag

                            I'm hardly laughing at others misfortune, however the amount being asked is ridiculous. Ask all you want for the building, but restaurants downtown don't go for that much, 60-80k reasonable. 129k for that space is ridiculous and honestly highway robbery.

                            1. re: LexiFirefly

                              not to be a jerk, but do you have any idea how to place a value on a business?
                              terms like EBITDA familiar to you?

                              if the restaurant was making $40 000 profit a year, which isn't a lot, getting that business (and the recipes and some training, i assume) is a pretty good deal.

                              i've been following restaurant lease sales. this is well below most prices.

                              1. re: atomeyes

                                Yes I do have an idea and I'd be interested to see which sales you are speaking of. The price per square foot is really high, and the main asset of the business is no longer around. I wish the family well, but I just don't think the neighbourhood is at that sort of level yet. I've seen this happen on both sides and it's incredibly sad for all involved.

                                1. re: atomeyes

                                  You'd pay much less just leasing a place close by from scratch and buying use equipment. Lots of places on that area of the Danforth come up and when that place doesn't sell as an ongoing business, ie a pizza place, you'll be in a good situation. Also, it's not like that place had anything of value in terms of leasehold improvements/interior design.

                                  As for recipes and training that's not worth much at all and if a prospective buyer needs that I would suggest they likely shouldn't buy the place.

                                  1. re: Flexitarian

                                    Yes leasing is cheaper but the you do not own the building and will be paying a landlord with this you will own the building ... To take an empty storefront and get all of the equioment, contractors, licences and approvals.. is going to take 4 -5 months where you are paying rent and have no income...

                                    Just a hood vent alone can be $40k.. and are not good to buy used as there is a lot of work to remove and install them.. and fire inspector can be very picky with these..

                                    end of the day if you can walk in and start cooking.. vs haaving to build it probably would be a wash in terms of cost / revenue

                                    1. re: pourboi

                                      There is no hood vent at DPH so that does not apply. All they have is some counter space, pizza oven, and some old props from the 50's like the cash register. Plus some pizza boxes.

                                      1. re: foodyDudey

                                        Most Pizza ovens are under hood vents as they are ovens.. Is it not a gas oven?

                                        1. re: pourboi

                                          Pretty sure it's gas fired. Note the photo on the real estate shot that clearly has a vent. Not an ansul system or fusible link to be seen. I look after 7 kitchens now and shake my head... lol Unless the oven has a self contained suppression system, which is not likely. The pie was fantastic regardless.

                                      2. re: pourboi

                                        Very few people opening restaurant businesses buy the building or can afford to. It's very rare. What you save in not buying the business (and whatever vent hood might be included) more than makes up for a few months rent.

                        2. re: Flexitarian

                          Except that 90% of the population have no idea who is running/cooking in a restaurant. So if you buy the "business" and do not change the name or the sign you are in fact buying the loyalty of the customers which does have some value. As does walking into a turnkey business where you have a website, boxes, menus, flyers, etc stacked up waiting for you..

                          The guy who orders a pizza once a week and has the number on speed dial is probably not going to go to another pizza place for his pie unless the new owners piss off the old customers...

                          I am not saying the amounts are correct but to say the business is only worth the equipment is absolutely false. There is also the cost of starting from scratch. How much would it cost and how much time to take an empty storefront and set it up as a pizza store, fire inspections, health inspection, plumbing, hood vents, city licencing, etc... Just to get a hood vent in you are looking $20k+ ...

                          1. re: pourboi

                            That may be true, but if you are a savvy buyer, you buy only the assets (and kitchen equipment is like 20c on the dollar) as when an owner changes the loyalty of the customers often does the same. A website, boxes, menus etc are a pittance compared to buying the rest of the assets btw. Rarely do 'one-man' type operations like the Danforth Pizza place sell as a going concern because for the most part it isn't when the brains leave because of the sale.

                            Also, if you are buying the assets you are not starting from scratch or with an empty storefront. That will all be there. Maybe you need the inspections again but if you haven't changed anything and everything had been inspected before that should just be routine.

                            Anyone buying the Danforth Pizza place will quickly realize that customer loyalty only goes so far and that it's tough to duplicate exactly what went on before such that everything stays the same.

                            1. re: pourboi

                              This place has none of that (flyers, website, delivery). They have a phone which is often left off the hook and had one very distinctive and beloved old man making the pizza. The amount of pizza he could produce was always limited by the size of the oven, hence leaving the phone off the hook.
                              Everyone who goes here knows the deal. Obliviously there are a few people as on this thread who don't go often, and might not have realized what made the place special, but those aren't the people that a buyer would be making money off based on reputation.

                              1. re: julesrules

                                I was just talking in general as I have never been to this Pizza place.. But at the end of the day what someone asks for something does not usually reflect what they get paid... especially real estate, business and used equipment..

                          2. I actually haven't been back, or ordered, from DPH ever since Angelo passed (God rest his soul).

                            We all saw this day coming, so it probably is time to visit again before DPH disappears into folklore and legend.

                            11 Replies
                            1. re: pakmode

                              woah woah woah...let's not delve into hyperbole.

                              i'm not originally from toronto. i can tell you that Danforth was one of the better pies in Toronto, hands down. It is not a pie that legend or folklore was made of. it was pretty good, but not godsent.

                              1. re: atomeyes

                                We will have to agree to disagree then.

                                1. re: pakmode

                                  I went once and didn't find there was anything special about the pizza, but then I am spoiled as I make my pizzas handmade at home.

                              2. re: pakmode

                                He was a legend in the area, and his pizza was damn good. Not your "Pizza Libratto" type gourmet pizza, but great when you just wanted the basics, with a nice char on the crust, to eat at home on a Friday night.
                                May Angelo rest in peace. With the angels.

                                1. re: KitchenVoodoo

                                  Yes, and I won't be back. I was a customer for about 48 years and am moving on now.. there's just so much more new experiences out there and so little time in the grand scheme of things. We spoke to Angelo a couple of times when waiting for our pie and remember it fondly. And I remember years ago when his uncle was making the pie along with Angelo. Found out he went back to Italy years ago. A smart entrepreneur will buy this business and make it their own as they will always be compared to what was if they try to emulate it.

                                  1. re: Poorboy

                                    have you ordered any pizza from DPH in the last 6 months? I'd like to hear how you think they compare to the good old days. Did you ever consider a career change? You could walk there and you know better than most how those pizza are supposed to taste!

                                    1. re: foodyDudey

                                      Hey FD, yes I was there and had twice in the past 6 months. Not the same. Really, I won't be back. There's just so much going on in the area that I have no inclination to do so. Chat soon.

                                      1. re: foodyDudey

                                        We love the pizza now...have been going for 25 years, was worried that it wouldn't be as good with the new owners but we thought it was terrific. Somebody on here complained that there wasn't as much cheese. I didn't find that at all. My DH thinks its even better.

                                        1. re: BIGeater100

                                          Still good char on there? That was some feedback I heard locally, that it wasn't quite the same in that respect. Will have to try for ourselves soon.

                                          1. re: julesrules

                                            The char is pretty darn good, just not quite up to Angelo's, but then Angelo had 50 years to perfect his! We've had about 4-5 pies under the new owners, and each one is better than the last.

                                            1. re: the_beezelet

                                              You can also specify that you want it "well done" or with extra burnt cheese. The nice family who's taken it over are only too happy to oblige.

                                2. I walked by the other night and noticed his son has taken empty pizza boxes and lined them up all along the front window as a privacy screen or something.

                                  Has it always been like that? I wonder what that's all about?

                                  I mean, what are you hiding - is what I first thought.

                                  2 Replies
                                  1. re: millygirl

                                    I've noticed it intermittently for the past 6 years I've been going.

                                    1. re: millygirl

                                      those boxes have always been there....they just go up and down as they use and replace them

                                    2. I understand from a friend in the neighbourhood, that Danforth Pizza House was purchased by a couple. Have any of you ordered any pizzas since the ownership change?

                                      21 Replies
                                      1. re: prima

                                        No I make my own more often now. I can have one made faster and cheaper than I can get one from there.

                                        1. re: foodyDudey

                                          Probably off topic, but do you use ready to go pizza dough from someplace like Jerry's Supermarket, or make your own?

                                          1. re: KitchenVoodoo

                                            I bought the ready made dough from Maselli's. They have two brands, I think the one I used was from "Nino D'Aversa". I remember it was a well known bakery. I can have two pizzas ready with 10 or 15 minutes of prep and then in the oven for ~15 mins @ 550F.

                                            I made pizza on two occasions in the last 10 days, as there is lots of fresh produce the stores and from my backyard.

                                        2. re: prima

                                          Walked by Monday night, and there was a big plastic tarp sign "50 Years of Experience", so it looks like someone is trying to make a go of it.

                                          I plan to drop in soon and order one to see how much it has changed.

                                          1. re: Pincus

                                            50 years of experience? I don't think the pizza oven is 50 years old.

                                            1. re: foodyDudey

                                              I am going from memory here, but I think the old sign said 'since 1964'.

                                              1. re: the_beezelet

                                                What I mean is, the people running it now don't have 50 years of experience. I'n not sure how they count the previous owners experience when he is not there now.

                                                1. re: foodyDudey

                                                  Tradition would probably have been a better choice of words. But it still signifies to me that they want to keep things mostly the same, which makes me happy.

                                              2. re: foodyDudey

                                                I still haven't been back since Angelo's passing. But I think it's time. I'll give it a whirl this week.

                                                1. re: pakmode

                                                  Went back last night to try DPH under the new ownership.

                                                  First off, they're very nice. Great service, very friendly and affable.

                                                  The pizza maker seemed young - maybe mid-20s?
                                                  If that's the case it will take him time to perfect the craft.

                                                  Also, the sauce seemed different - has anyone else noticed this? It's very tomato-pastey...I don't remember Angelo's being like that.

                                                  I asked for well-done, had good char on it, great burnt cheese, but the dough seemed to be a bit thinner then when Angelo made it. I forgot to look at the cheese they used to see if it was the same as before.

                                                  But at $8 for a small cheese I don't know how they're making money. It was good quality and well worth it.
                                                  The same as Angelo's? Of course not. But definitely worth it when in the area again. I think give them some time and they may be a solid contender.

                                                  I`ll try it again a few more times and report back after.

                                                  1. re: pakmode

                                                    So they've kept prices the same. I'm going to assume they'll have to raise them soon enough. But in the meantime need to get me some House Special!

                                                    1. re: julesrules

                                                      Sorry - forgot to mention that! Yes, prices all appeared to be the same.

                                                    2. re: pakmode

                                                      It's because, I suspect, they now own the building. There's no lease or rent to be paid- plus, as a family business, their labour costs, at least for now, are probably low.

                                                      1. re: biggreenmatt


                                                        Can you clarify what you just said? It sounds like the new owners bought the building from Angelo's family and there is no lease or rent to be paid? Somehow I doubt that. Most people don't buy a commercial property for $750K or more and just pull the full amount out of their wazoo to pay for it with no mortgage.

                                                        1. re: foodyDudey

                                                          I was also curious about this. Owning a building still means mortgage, property tax, water. Insurance ect. It's not just "oh sweet we own the building, so let's do what we want!" Not trying to be snarky but there are still a lot of overhead costs!

                                                          1. re: LexiFirefly

                                                            Right, and whose dream is to pay $750K cash for a building just so they can slave away at a hot oven and underpay themselves? Even if that is exactly their dream, due to sincere love of old school pizza or whatever, eventually something will have to give.

                                                            1. re: julesrules

                                                              Here's hoping their business plan has them on track to make profits.

                                                          2. re: foodyDudey

                                                            Sure. IIRC, the entire building, including the business, was up for sale. Given my understanding that the building and business was sold to friends of the family, I wouldn't be surprised in the slightest if "an arrangement" was arrived at between Angelo's family and the current owners.

                                                            1. re: biggreenmatt

                                                              I'm just curious what sort of arrangement you think would be in place where no funds were paid? I need some friends like that. Most people know not to make "arrangements" with friends, they quickly won't be your friends. Actually as I read what you just said plus what you posted yesterday, it seems like you are making a lot of assumptions.

                                                              1. re: biggreenmatt

                                                                No offence but I think you're dreaming biggreenmatt. This just doesn't happen in this industry or any for that matter - espically in a big city where real estate is a big portion of the overall value of your business if you owe the building,

                                                                1. re: JennaBean

                                                                  Honesty, who cares how they did it. The main thing is that someone stepped up and rescued the place. And as I said previously, after several recent visits in my opinion the pizza is as good as ever. That's what counts to me.

                                                2. To those who have tried it under the new owners:

                                                  1) Are prices comparable?
                                                  2) Do they have a similar order-taking system (load up early, stop answering the phone when busy)?


                                                  1. Probably should start a new thread to comment on the place now that it is reopened by new owners.. or at least ask mods to change the title of the post...

                                                    1 Reply
                                                    1. re: pourboi

                                                      It needs a new title, but I don't think it ever closed. It has just had different people running it over the last year.

                                                    2. Have tried Danforth Pizza House 4 or 5 times since Angelos passing, the most recent being just a week ago. In my opinion the pizza is at least the same and with no disrespect intended even a bit better.

                                                      The new owners are very nice and have cleaned the place up quite a bit without destroying the old school atmosphere. Don't know if they still take the phone off the hook when they get busy. I order ahead and havn't had any problem getting them. I've discussed with them about changes they are making and I believe they are well aware of Angelo's legacy and won't be turing it into a Pizza Pizza any time soon.

                                                      1. I always loved his Pizza, the new owners are nice.

                                                        1. I got a pizza from there on Friday and quite enjoyed it. It seemed well up to the same quality as Angelo's.

                                                          I wasn't super thrilled that I got told forty minutes and then got told another twenty minutes when I came back. Still, it did mean the rain had let up quite a bit.

                                                          1 Reply
                                                          1. re: Pincus

                                                            We had a couple of pies with friends last Thursday. Asked for extra char and it was lovely, the still not quite to the Angelo standard (although to be fair, it was hit and the occasional miss with him too). Am just thrilled that we still have such a fabulous place in the 'hood.

                                                          2. And there is a review / profile of the new owners on BlogTO: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/514886

                                                            P.S. I have had a pizza or two since the owners have changed and can't complain. It may not be exactly the same but it beats a lot of the competition and will only get better with time.

                                                            Of course, I am worried by the suggestion that they may be replacing the oven.

                                                            2 Replies
                                                              1. re: DeclineandFall

                                                                Interesting, they were looking through something that had oven pictures, either a trade magazine or a catalogue (couldn't tell) when I was there last.

                                                              2. ** Update **

                                                                We had pizza from them last night, for the first time since the new owners took over and I gotta say IT WAS FAB!! Hard to believe but even better than the original.

                                                                The crust was perfect, not as doughy as it used to be and that's a good thing. Simply perfect.

                                                                I guess my only suggestion would be to order double cheese next time. It could have used slightly more.

                                                                2 Replies
                                                                1. re: millygirl

                                                                  I had one today and ordered double cheese. Not sure if I actually received it or not since I don't really have a reference, but it seemed like very little cheese even for a normal order let alone a double order. Feel a bit ripped off by paying for double, but otherwise it was tasty.

                                                                  1. re: szw

                                                                    It's interesting that you mentioned the cheese as that was exactly what I thought the last two times I ordered, which was earlier this summer. The lack of cheese is the main reason I decided it was time to just make them at home and also not worry about how much of a backlog they have at DPH.

                                                                2. Hey Kids!
                                                                  I hit up Danforth Pizza House on Saturday night, and ordered my usual, and I gotta say, the youngster got it done!
                                                                  I was prepared for a bit of a letdown, but no worries, it was as if old Angelo had made it himself - that unique familiar cheese, nicely well done, bits of charred crust - all in all a GREAT pizza!
                                                                  Just a note for regulars, while picking up I noticed a chalkboard in the store offered fresh artisan italian sausage as a topping, which I definitely would have tried had I known about it. Next time!

                                                                  7 Replies
                                                                  1. re: TorontoTips

                                                                    Did exactly the same on last Friday night. I noticed a few weeks ago they had added the sausage from Maselli's market a few doors down. The sausage was very good. Just a little light on the portion.

                                                                    The new owners must be doing something right because I ordered at 4:30pm and was told to come for my pizza at 5:50pm. That's how busy they were.....and there were THREE people making the pizza with a fourth guy manning the oven. Pizza was excellent.

                                                                    1. re: gentlemanjohn

                                                                      They need 4 people to do what Angelo did all by himself, or do you think they are much busier now?

                                                                      1. re: foodyDudey

                                                                        Not sure. Maybe they were breaking in a couple of new pizza makers because they are getting so busy. OR, just maybe Angelo, God bless him, had it down to such a science after 50+ years that he could do the same work that it takes three to do today.

                                                                        1. re: foodyDudey

                                                                          And in fairness, Angelo's son helped out on busy nights.

                                                                          Hopefully, it's a little bit of busier, a little bit of more effort needed to recreate 50 years of pizza-making experience!

                                                                          1. re: biggreenmatt

                                                                            Or maybe they leave the phone on the hook all the time now.

                                                                            1. re: graydyn

                                                                              Exactly... Angelo always had ways of limiting the output to what he could reasonably produce (and often there was a long wait, sometimes quite a bit longer than promised ie/ Friday nights). I loved Angelo and his DPH but I picked my moments and never placed the kinds of large orders we get from Bona or Big House when having friends over.

                                                                              1. re: julesrules

                                                                                I'd only started ordering occasionally from Danforth Pizza House a couple years ago, despite living in the area for 17 years. I'd initially "discovered it" via Yelp reviews.

                                                                                We've ordered a couple times since Angelo passed away, again a few days ago. The pizza does indeed taste the same to me. As to how good it is, I would not laud this as amazing in any way. I think it's prime appeal is that it's clearly not a chain pizza, and just says "hand-made, old school pizza, fresh out of the oven."

                                                                                I grew up around the Peanut Plaza in North York, and so grew up with Don Valley Pizza in that plaza as "pizza." It looked and operated very much like Danforth Pizza House and DP tastes as far as I can remember almost exactly the same.

                                                                                I echo some people's comments that the toppings always seem a bit disappointingly skimpy. This is one reason why I just ordered a plain cheese pizza along with one with lots of toppings. Their toppings don't do a lot for me and I actually like the simplicity of their basic cheese pizza.

                                                                                I see a fair amount of praise for the DPH crust.
                                                                                I can see why initially. It's firm, appropriately big and puffy at the edges, with a gratifying oven char. My only problem with it is that it looks good, "feels" good to the chew (although a bit tough to chew frankly) but I'm let down somewhat by the lack of much flavor in the crust. Usually with decent pizza getting to the edge crusts is one of my favorite parts. With DPH it's got such a promising texture and look, but it actually gets hard to chew and starts to remind me more of trying to chew through cardboard. I get a bit bored with it and my jaw gets tired.

                                                                                (Contrast this to Pizzaiolo, no doubt being a chain it gets excoriated by others, but I really like some of their slices, and really enjoy their crust).

                                                                                So for me Danforth Pizza House is a place that I will indeed continue to order from some times because it's a hit of old-school pizza that I occasionally will crave. But it doesn't quite transcend it's fairly humble pretensions, and isn't anywhere near the second-coming of pizza for me that some seem to rave about (e.g. on Yelp etc).
                                                                                Very good, not great.