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Eat & Drink

Massimo's Gets Shut Down

Posted by Tim / March 6, 2009

Massimo'sMassimo's, one of my favourite 2am pit stops for a slice of pizza, was temporarily shut down last week. On the front door, management has posted a notice (above) citing problems with the ventilation/exhaust system which they're taking steps to resolve.

But on further analysis, it appears the restaurant was closed for far more infractions than management was willing to admit. A rudimentary search on DineSafe reveals that Massimo's was hit with 11 infractions by city inspectors including failure to prevent a rodent infestation, failure to store solid waste and failure to provide clean washroom fixtures. Gross.

Here's a look at the full report:

Massimo's Inspection Report

Say it ain't so Massimo's? Don't make me go to Amato's!



joe / March 6, 2009 at 11:46 am
Dominion has the best pizza.
canuck1975 / March 6, 2009 at 11:53 am
Where's the Lucky 7/Lobrats style outrage? Come on CityTV... aren't you supposed to be "everwhere?"
yum / March 6, 2009 at 11:57 am

I like their semi-floury crust that not many places pull off well.
Ryan L. replying to a comment from canuck1975 / March 6, 2009 at 12:38 pm
They don't have a video of mice scurrying around, or it would be on CityTV.
Arieh Singer / March 6, 2009 at 12:45 pm
Damien / March 6, 2009 at 01:50 pm
David replying to a comment from Ryan L. / March 6, 2009 at 01:51 pm
Neither did Loblaws. City seems to be pick-and-choosy. They also didn't report on the rats at Second Cup. Hmm... conspiracy or was there just better news today?
Rochelle Latinsky / March 6, 2009 at 02:42 pm
I work and play in the neighbourhood. I have seen the Massimos guy outside picking his nose then going back in to serve food. I don't care how delish the pizza apparently is. I will never eat there just for the vomit factor.

Had I seen him wash his hands I might be persuaded to think otherwise but alas that's not the case.

stoeten / March 6, 2009 at 02:52 pm
Anyone who's been to the bathroom down there shouldn't be surprised. But you can completely see the food preparation area, and it's not unlike any other place. Meh.
Ck / March 6, 2009 at 02:57 pm
Dirty-schmirty - why do you think their pizza is so tasty?!
Sharon / March 6, 2009 at 03:02 pm
I can't say I'm surprised, as you can tell as soon as you walk in that it's not the cleanest place, in general. However, the actual food prep area is completely wide open & I've never, in my years of going there, seen anything to be concerned about. And the pizza is insanely good.
Scoop Gerbil / March 6, 2009 at 03:32 pm
Their pizza is awesome but the last time I was in there I saw two rats scurrying along the back wall and under a door - while the place was full of people! Hopefully this spurs them to clean up.
Ryan L. replying to a comment from David / March 6, 2009 at 04:21 pm
There's a big difference between a grocery store and a tiny pizza place being shut down. Tens of thousands of different people will shop at a grocery store over the course of a few weeks. And several times that will have shopped at the store at one point in their lives. So it's slightly more relevant to more people than Massimos.

Secondly, grocery stores are generally regarded as being cleaner than restaurants (especially ones like Loblaws). Big chains rarely, if ever get shut down for health code violations.

A comparison would be if a restaurant loses its liqour license for serving to minors versus...I don't know, Air Canada losing its liquor license for serving to minors. One will make the news, the other won't, unless someone managed to capture the small restaurant incident on tape.
apetimberlake / March 6, 2009 at 04:28 pm
Were they not on restaraunt make over recently.
I rememeber hearing about Egor hanging out in front having a beer.
Laurence replying to a comment from Ryan L. / March 6, 2009 at 05:04 pm
Then, as Canuck1975 rightly states, why did CityTV focus so much on Lucky Seven, which pretty much entered the deadpool after the extremely negative press coverage by City. Lucky Seven is probably *less* popular than Massimos.
canuck1975 / March 6, 2009 at 05:05 pm
I wonder if there will be an insane city sweep of the area to see if any other pizzerias also have rats.

Oh wait.

This probably should have been caught with the last sweep. Oops.
jeevs sinclair / March 6, 2009 at 10:33 pm
Massimo's is now open again.
Cat / March 7, 2009 at 11:23 am
I was the one who called in regarding the rats (see tweets linked below). I felt bad but there were at least 3 rats running around in plain site and the staff still had food lying around. I unfortunately didn't see any rats until I was about to eat the crust of my pizza.

I ended up having a really positive experience with the Dine Safe program and the city inspectors - they went in to inspect within a day or so of my complaint, the actual inspector of the premises wrote me a follow up email in which they explained their findings and noted that the place was going to be closed, etc, and provided me with contact info should I have futher concerns. This was by far and large the best and most positive experience I have had with any city agency. I was sad because I didn't want Massimo's to have to close or something, but at the same time I'm sure if I hadn't complained someone else would have (and based off their Dine Safe reports it was pretty inevitable).
Cat / March 7, 2009 at 11:24 am
Er, plain sight.
Paul / March 7, 2009 at 09:31 pm
lolololololol I passed by there today and they have the "Pass" sign at the bottom of the window and folded so that you only see the top half of the sign, and not the bottom half where it says that it was closed this week.

That sort of blatant dishonesty (as well as the note that started this blog entry) worries me.
eagle3 / March 7, 2009 at 09:51 pm
I went by there last Saturday and noticed it was closed. Thought it was strange, so when I got home I looked them up on Dinesafe and sure enough all kinds of infractions. I don't know if anyone saw them on the show "Restaurant Makeover" show a year or so ago. A lot of good that did. What a flaming waste of money that was..
ajrw / March 8, 2009 at 11:07 am
Cat: Good on you for reporting it. The place was clearly unsanitary, and you might have helped a good number of people avoid getting sick.
Anon / March 10, 2009 at 04:38 pm
You're all a bunch of nancys, massimos is delicious. Twitter is for twats go get a job with the health inspector. What is your deal?
Neighbour / March 12, 2009 at 08:53 pm
That sign about ventilation is a blatant lie to save face.

I live two doors down from this place and see their dirty practices.

Massimo's back alley (which I share) is infested with rats - mainly due to their overflowing piles of garbage and filth.

Massimo's leaves their back door open during the hot summer days = rats and roaches roam freely in and out of their back door.

I have seen their employees take washroom breaks in the back alley - these guys urinate against the fence into the basketball court of Lord Lansdowne Public School where children play.

(Editors note: A portion of this comment has been removed/edited b/c it involved a personal attack)
sandy_mandy / April 2, 2009 at 09:45 am
Massimo's is a dirty dump. the quality of pizza has deteriorated since the Philippino guys are running the place. they don't even have any other foods but pizza that is ridiculously expensive for the quality. they use very cheap ingredients. true about the staff urinating in the back and not following proper hygiene. i once caught one of the staff picking his nose. gross.
buy wow gold / April 6, 2009 at 07:12 am
Eww, that's gross. For sure it would be hard to gain the trust of consumers who once used to eat on their restaurant after this incident. I wouldn't dare visiting their store, there's a lot pizza parlor in town that offer more delicious food.
Z / April 25, 2009 at 03:38 pm
The show "Restaurant Makeover" destroyed Massimo's Pizza. Restaurant Makeover replaced 1 of the 2 pizza oven's at Massimo's with a cheap rotating pizza warmer unit that you see every where else....completely removing their once unique flavor.

We still visited occasionally for nostalgic memories, since we have been eating at Massimo's Pizza for more then 20 years. We miss their amazing pizza, it was the best.
Rein / April 27, 2009 at 10:53 am
Been going there for almost 30 pizza anywhere by a mile...Restaurant makeover was the beginning of the end...they spent money in the wrong places...destroyed the 2nd oven, didn't fix the terms of the ventilation issues (the building owner pipes his car repair shop fumes into Massimo's as well...and the landlord hasn't fixed the toilets for 30 years (where is the landlord's responsibility in this??)...what about the pulic toilets at City Hall skating rink...the City itself has violations that it does not take care of....
RV replying to a comment from Cat / April 28, 2009 at 10:27 am
Bravo! You have done such a great service for the should be so proud of yourself...the City is infested with rats everywhere, are you going to blow the whistle on that too?
Sally replying to a comment from canuck1975 / June 2, 2009 at 11:22 am
If all you are going in for is a quick slice at 2am --- then yes it is delicious!! However, if you actually intend to sit down and eat anything --- you're in for a horrible surprise. The place is filthy and the guy behind the counter is totally unstable. He yells, screams and swears at everyone who works there, calling them lazy and other obscenities right at your table. Don't even try to order pasta as they are either completely out or can't remember how to make it. If you ask for garlic bread, there is confusion as to whether it is served with pasta or not and all the workers ignore each other's questions in front of guests.
it is unfortunate as the pizza is delicious... but it is scary to see what it going on behind the scenes. I've never had to try to eat a meal while the staff are standing at my table swearing at each other and ignoring our need for a fork.
Jade replying to a comment from Paul / July 29, 2009 at 11:26 am
Speaking of dishonesty at Massimo's, I had a free slice of pizza there one night which the apparent owner gave to me. He simply walked behind the counter and gave me a slice. One of the employees said "it's his choice, he's the owner". Then, this "owner" got to talking to me and I told him my dad does printing and asked him if he needed any fliers or menus printed, he said "yes" he would be needing some printing and was interested in my dad's services. A few days later, my dad and I went there and asked to speak to the owner regarding printing for the business. An Asian guy, the same employee who said the Italian guy was the owner, said that he was the owner. I asked him why he would say that the Italian guy was the owner, and he just continued to say that he was the owner and would not say anything else. I found this very strange and shady... He told us to leave after that.
Delia / August 31, 2009 at 08:53 pm
Anyone noticed they're closed now? DineSafe profile also gone. Guess a little bad PR went a long way...
A. / September 24, 2009 at 12:23 am
That, and maybe the fire that gutted the place.
Peter416 / October 6, 2010 at 01:50 pm
They were on restaurant makeover in 2008. Strange it's been downhill ever since.
It was all tears of joy in 2008 but if Vinny, unlike his father Gus doesn't care for the business, then he should get out of it instead of dragging it into a probably lawsuit over food poisoning.
imbo / May 2, 2013 at 10:32 pm
I like their pizza.It feels bad to hear about this.
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