The Ontario chain looks set to open up two locations in Vancouver—but we may just be better off without it.
One of my favourite arguments to have with friends these days centres around perhaps the finest delicacy ever known to man or woman: pizza. Specifically, the question of where in Vancouver serves up the best pie. It may seem like a simple query, but in reality, it takes into account a few factors. Are we talking best bang for buck? Sit-down or takeout? What about best delivery? Everyone will have their own calls on this (I’m partial to Straight Outta Brooklyn for takeout and Nicli for dining in, though there are several respectable contenders in both categories.) But when it comes to the worst pizza in town, it’s not particularly close. Or at least it won’t be. Pizza Pizza, that bastion of cheap ’za that started in Toronto and has spread across most of the country (including to our neighbours in Burnaby, New West and Surrey) is on the verge of a hostile takeover in two different spots in Vancouver—one in the same Kitsilano plaza that houses Siegel’s Bagels and Triple O’s on Cornwall Street, and another replacing a Starbucks in Mount Pleasant at the corner of Scotia Street and East Broadway. (How did your boy get that scoop? By walking by the place. That’s right—real, boots-on-the-ground reporting, people.) It’s probably a good thing that the Daily Hive article linked above comes without a byline attached because professing that “we couldn’t be more excited” about the chain coming to town is the equivalent of claiming you’re enjoying Adam Sandler’s partnership with Netflix, as far as taste goes. (Of course, it could also be an ad—no real way to tell with that bastion of journalism.) Anyway, back to the pizza at hand. The first thing that strikes one upon walking into one of Pizza Pizza’s many locations around the country is the smell. If you think Subway’s stench is something for the ages, try walking into one of these eyesores. It’s really an assault on the senses. Your pupils are blinded by the bright orange colour scheme and the beaming fluorescent lights, while your nose is battered by whatever that is. You won’t be sure because you’ve never smelled it before. But it will make you want to vomit. And you know when you spot a few slices in the display case and think, “Hmm, that seems like it’s been out there for awhile”? This stuff has that appearance two minutes out of the oven; it literally never looks appetizing. Now, I get it, Pizza Pizza is cheap. Like, really, really dirt cheap. But it’s not like we don’t have inexpensive options in Vancouver. How about Megabite or Uncle Fatih’s? Even Pizza Garden is damn affordable. All won’t destroy your wallet, and though none of them are gifts to the culinary world, I guarantee they’ll taste better on the way down than the glorified cardboard you’ll get at Ontario’s favourite pizza spot. Those other places, I’m sure, don’t use the highest quality cheese, toppings or dough in their recipes, but they get by without tasting like hot garbage. Maybe that’s because the worst—by far—ingredient in Pizza Pizza’s product is the sauce. A pizza connoisseur likely wouldn’t tell you that sauce makes the pizza—it’s tomato sauce, how hard can it be? But this stuff tastes like it’s absolutely caked in sugar, perhaps in an attempt to hide the rest of its ghastliness. The result is a truly terrible slice of pizza and a Ruth Ginsberg–level case against some wise ass who tries to tell you that there’s no such thing as bad pizza. There is, pal, I’ve had it. And so, disappointingly, has the majority of Canada. I’ll set the scene for you. In a couple of months, when you stumble in here on a summer night and survey the tables littered with garbage and half-empty cardboard plates while a couple pies sit unappetizingly behind the counter, you’ve got a choice. There are no employees in sight (pretty sure being in the dining area of a Pizza Pizza for more than half an hour straight violates the United Nations Declaration of Human Rights), but there is a bell on the table that will get someone’s attention. Don’t ring it. You’ll be happy you didn’t.