Toronto's new backyard pizza joint may be the city's best kept secret
Toronto's newest secret backyard pizza joint comes to us from a commercial electrician and general contractor who developed a pandemic obsession with naturally leavened dough.
Nicky P's Pizza Palace sells naturally leavened Neapolitan-style pizza out of an east Toronto backyard.
The person behind it is Nick Phillips, whose partner got him an Ooni oven for his birthday in 2020 after he wasn't satisfied with his conventional one. Oonis can cook a pizza in 90 seconds.
"With COVID, I as many other people went down a path of exploring naturally leavened dough," Phillips tells blogTO. "This became an obsession during times when I was not able to work."
Nicky P's pizzas have names like "El Barto" (spicy cacciatore, San Marzano tomato, buffalo mozzarella, jalapeno, honey), "Neil Pear-t" (pear, wild boar sausage, mozzarella, cambozola, oil, honey, salt, pistachio) and "'Roni Danza."
Phillips says his "pizza sensei" has been Matt Reijnen, owner of Pizzeria Madre in London, Ontario, and a childhood friend .
"I bombarded Matt with questions for several months, watched countless videos and read up on the AVPN regulations, which I decided was too confined for my liking."
He's referring to the strict guidelines for making authentic Neapolitan pizza, which can be difficult to adhere to for official recognition.
Phillips bought boxes to gift pizzas to some friends, and more and more people started asking for pizzas. What keeps them coming back is his dough.
"Less is more, using simple good ingredients really showcases the dough," says Phillips. "There have been a lot of variations of dough to get this pizza at its current state, adjusting the starter, temperature and time of fermentation, different flours and hydration percentages."
Every other week Phillips posts on Instagram when the next pizza night will be and what that week's four pizzas are. From there people can DM him to arrange for staggered pickup times.
"We sell out within a couple of days and that's based on our current capacity at this stage," says Phillps. "All I can say is that I love pizza and it's a dream to be able to share it."
Nicky P's Pizza Palace
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