Why is it so hard to find deep dish pizza in Toronto?
Toronto pizzerias are bold with their toppings. Tandoori chicken, spinach and pesto, even t=Thai pizza -- there's plenty of innovative and flavourful pizza options around. Unless you like deep dish, then you're almost completely out of luck.
Pat Delle Grazie, owner of Hamilton's Chicago Style Pizza Shack, says real deep dish is made with a thicker crust pressed into a high-edged pan, to better ladle in all the ingredients. With a thicker crust, there's more support for reams of mozzarella and toppings to gorge yourself on.
Delle Grazie's Pizza Shack, though, offers a slightly different take on the deep dish style: the stuffed pizza, a literal pizza pie with two crusts crimped together and sauce and cheese stuffed in between -- and on top of the pie.
Which leads to a problem: in image-conscious Toronto, people prefer their pizza "supermodel thin" rather than a slice as big as a Chicago Bears linebacker.
"Even if people had a choice, they wouldn't order as much deep dish," says Delle Grazie. "It's too much. More mature customers can't afford to eat all that cheese and balloon up."
Like any business, ultimately the free market decides who lives and dies. The Frank Vetere's chain, the last great deep dish, was sold off to Pizza Hut Canada in 1984. A Maple-based deep dish pizzeria was shuttered recently. Unfortunately, for deep dish lovers, Toronto's market seems to want more and more traditional and thin crust 'zas.
It's not like deep dish is a strange phenomena outside of Toronto's borders. Calgary's own Chicago Deep Dish Pizza is an eight-restaurant local chain serving massive squares of pizza to expand Calgarian's waistlines. And that's the problem, ultimately: old and young alike aren't wanting those thick, cheesy, gut-busting slices.
"I'd have to say that traditional pizza is still strongest," says Delle Grazie. "Stuffed pizza is too heavy for kids. The traditional will still be more popular."
Unfortunately, the closest thing we have to deep dish in Toronto can be found at Pizzaiolo. Their Godfather pizza is festooned with bacon, sausage, pepperoni then finished with mozza and parmiagiano.
What do you prefer: thin, regular or deep dish? And is there some secret spot serving delicious deep dish slices that I don't know about?
Writing by Jordyn Marcellus. Photo by scaredykat on Flickr
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