When I lived in Calgary, I worked with several individuals from the small city of Windsor, Ontario. Relying largely on Detroit’s automotive industry, or lack thereof, Windsor folks are represented amongst the work-hungry migrants who find themselves in Calgary. These friends of mine taught me things I didn’t know – many things! Such as: Windsor is the southernmost city in Canada. It is located even more southernly than some U.S. towns and cities. It has a hot, humid climate in the summer, perfect for tomatoes, and with a large Italian population to boot! For this reason it is a town rich with Italian food and pizza. The other unique thing about Windsor is that it is directly across the river from Detroit. You can literally see the Detroit skyline from the Windsor waterfront, and there is a bridge and an under-water tunnel that can take you there easily.
More than anything, my Windsor friends insisted that their hometown has the best pizza in Canada! Now, that’s a big claim, and you can bet your ass I showed up on my friend Kyle’s doorstep as promised.
The above picture displays my first slice of Windsor pizza. This particular slice is from Capri pizza, which, apparently, is one of the only good Windsor-style joints with a location downtown. The first thing I noticed was that the pepperoni is shredded… shredded! Whoa. This slice of pizza had obviously been sitting under the lamps for a while, so it wasn’t the best initiation into this style of pizza, but you can see that the Windsor style is a hand-tossed thin-ish style. Thus far, it sorta looks like Halifax’s pizza corner style, aside from the pepperoni.
My Windsor tour-guide suggested we go to his favourite pizza place, namely, Riverside Restaurant and Tavern. This was an old worn-in neighbourhood sports bar (not the kind with the flat screen TVs, wing specials and boobs, but rather the kind with the vintage, no-nonsense servers and dusty sports memorabilia on the walls).
This pizza was an improvement on Capri, if not only because it was served fresh in the dining room. The pepperoni was the same shredded variety, only the menu referred to it as “sausage” for some reason (pepperoni is technically a sausage, but how misleading). The crust was sturdy-crisp. Nice. We went half/half because Kyle doesn’t like mushrooms and olives, and I practically require them. However, the mushrooms were *shudder*… canned! C’est terrible! But before I trash this particular institution, I should mention that all Windsor pizza places are rumoured to serve canned mushrooms. Best pizza in Canada? This is certainly one count against Windsor.
Another interesting thing about Riverside Pizza is that they provide a bottle of home-made BBQ sauce for dipping. Strange choice, but the locals seem to dig it.
The last pizza of my Windsor pizza tour, was one from Naples, which, oddly enough, is not representative of the trendy Neapolitan style. It took some work to figure out which location delivered to our area, since, as I mentioned, most Windsor pizza places aren’t downtown locations where you sit down and eat. However, this pizza was easily one of the best I’ve ever had! This time I went with Kyle’s preferred toppings of pepperoni (yes, shredded), green pepper and banana peppers. This worked out well for us both, and I found the sauce at Naples to be superior to the others I had tried. The crust was thin, and not particularly crispy or floppy – a nice balance. I really loved this pie.
I give much credit and love to Windsor as a Canadian pizza town. Just don’t order the mushrooms…
Naples Pizza is also available in other Ontario locations, such as London.
Links for your persual: