You’ve surely heard of New York-style, Neapolitan-style, Chicago-style and maybe event Detroit-style pizza; but did you know Windsor lays claim to it’s own style of pie?
Windsor is full of wood-fired pizza joints, decades old family pizzerias and some award-winning local franchises. Any or all of these would give any town a run for it’s money as the pizza capital of Canada. In fact, Windsor pizza is so popular people have started bringing it home on flights, causing many local businesses to start offering ‘par-baked’ options that travel well!
We may or may not have recently been one of those people. No regrets.
There’s a few things that make Windsor-style pizza unique. The first is their pepperoni. Unlike traditional pies which opt for round slices of pep, in Windsor folks shred their ‘roni into match sticks offering up more edges for crisping by the oven gods. Shredding also means every bite of Windsor pizza should have the taste of pepperoni, unlike one with scattered round slices of pep.
The second is a little more curious. Folks in Windsor prefer canned mushrooms to fresh. Now hear me out, because I’m now a convert. Canned mushrooms have a lot of moisture, which means they hold up to the high heat of the pizza oven. Unlike their fresh cousins, that shrivel and dry when they hit the heat. The result is a chewy, meaty mushroom that let’s flavour shine.
The last is the cheese. Many pizzerias depend on the Windsor-made Galati Cheese Company Ltd. mozzarella for their pies. On our adventures, most told us it isn’t true Windsor pizza without it. Galati has been making mozza for 21 years and is the only cheese manufacturer in south of Oxford County. They only distribute as far as London. It’s unique to the area.
So what does it taste Windsor-style pizza taste like? Well, every pie we tried was a little different; but each was delicious. Here are three Windsor-style pizza joints we think you just gotta try.
Remo’s at the Caboto Club
2175 Parent Ave, Windsor, ON cabotoclub.com
Remo’s Brick Oven Pizza is tucked away in the basement of an Italian Men’s Social Club. Finding the place is a bit of a surreal experience as it has you weaving through ornate architecture and crowds of old Italian men drinking espresso gesturing passionately about the latest news. Once you find it though, you will be blown away. The pizza joint is separate from the bar in the back corner of the members lounge. The pizza itself is chewy, with a perfectly blistered crust. The toppings are perfectly cooked and spread evenly. It was just perfect. You can make your own or choose from over 40 pre-made varieties. We opted for three pies. The Francesco (My Son) – a surprisingly pleasant mix of sweet potato slices, fresh garlic and goat cheese; a Stevale, which features hot soprassata and baked ricotta; and their famous Nutella pizza. All were excellent.
Armando’s Pizza – Cabana Road
300 Cabana Rd E, Windsor, ON armandospizza.com
Armando’s isn’t you typical ‘chain’ restaurant. They’re most often rated the #1 pizza place in Windsor/Essex County, recently winning Best Pizza awards for 2018, 2017 and 2016. On the world stage, Armando’s Pizza placed #3 at the world open International Pizza competition in Las Vegas – and took 1st place in the ‘traditional’ category. Since then, Canadian Pizza Mag has named exec. Chef Dean Litster their 2018 Chef of the Year! This is spot to try that signature shredded pepperoni/canned mushroom combo locals rave about.
Terra Cotta Gourmet Pizza
318 Pelissier St, Windsor, ON terracottapizzeriawindsor.ca
The newest to open on our list, Terra Cotta is gaining a reputation in its own right. They do traditional ‘gourmet pizza’ with in a wood-burning oven. We recommend the Campagnola and Napoletana – both classic topping combinations that really let the skill of these pizzaiolos shine. Bonus: they’re right next door to Craft Heads Brewing, which you definitely don’t want to miss!
For more Windsor-pizza and other Essex County adventures, check out VisitWindsorEssex.com
Want to take your Windsor pizza fandom up a notch? JOIN THE WINDSOR ESSEX PIZZA CLUB.