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Canadian consumers drive demand for decadent pizzas

June 19 2017

When it comes to enjoying a pizza, consumers have a lot of options available, ranging from fast food outlets that sell pizza by the slice to gourmet dining experiences with wood-fired ovens and specialty flavours.

Of course, one of the beautiful things about pizza is that everyone can make the dish their own. Personalizing the meal with various types of cheeses, sauces, and toppings allows for an endless choice of combinations - and we haven't even started talking about the different types of pizza crusts.

Deep-dish pizza is growing in popularity across North America, and we don't mean so-called "thick crust" pizzas. We mean messy masterpieces that live up to the name "pizza pie."

Canadian Pizza Magazine explains that this new trend is "a stark change from the blistered thin-crust" Neapolitan style pizzas that have dominated the industry for nearly a decade. Customers are looking for something different from their pizzas, and the deep-dish delights are stepping up to the plate.

For example, at Mickey's Dragon Pizza in Mississauga, Ontario, owner Sandi Stoyan says customers enjoy her deep-dish pizzas over the thin crusts at a ratio of about 2:1.

“It used to be that people who lived locally didn’t know what deep-dish was, so they would have thin crust. But little by little people started hearing about our deep-dish pizza and it just grew," she explained.

Ms Stoyan's pizzeria measures just 900 square feet and is packed with dough fridges and two ovens. There are just six bar stools and a couple of small tables, and since there's no delivery service, the majority of her business is takeout.

Despite all of this, customers come from as far as two hours away to enjoy Dragon Pizza's food. While table reservations aren't available, you can reserve your dough.

"We have to hide the [reserved] dough in the kitchen because we've had people hijack other people's dough," she explained. In fact, the pizzeria often sells out within three hours.

Those living in Toronto's east end are lucky enough to have two deep-dish pizzerias nearby. Both have limited seating and people regularly line up out the door to sample one of their pizzas.

Double D's Pizza on Gerrard Street East has been serving up authentic Chicago-style pizza since just January, but it was so popular that a second location was opened in the west end. Both locations offer a limited menu three set pizzas: Chicago Classic, Jalapeno Blue and Farmers Market. There's also a make-your-own option, but don't bother looking for salads, appetizers or other sides - their focus is on delicious pizza full of fresh vegetables, quality meats, and cheeses.

Toronto's other east-end deep dish pizzeria is Descendant Detroit Style Pizza. Its pizzas are rectangular with an airy focaccia-style crust and cheese that goes crispy around the edges. It opened in August 2015 and owner Chris Getchell says it's the only place you can get a Detroit-style pizza in Canada.

Like the other pizzerias, Getchell's menu is focussed on the pizza, and he offers a few carefully selected beer and cider options. The most popular pie is Truff-Ghi, which is topped with a mozzarella and brick cheese blend, caramelized onions, double-smoked bacon and slow-roasted garlic cremini mushrooms.