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For the majority of people in the hospitality industry, the effects of COVID-19 have been nothing short of detrimental, as brick-and-mortar restaurants and bars continue to close and those in the industry are forced to pivot their businesses entirely. But for others, the constraints created new opportunities, a chance to rethink or start fresh. Fortunately, for two ex-band members, Joe Frontel and Tom Hinchcliffe, it was the latter. These born pizza-lovers, who were once devouring North of Brooklyn slices between sets, turned their love into a prospective opportunity when times were tough for many.
Not long ago, Joe was a graphic designer and worked in the creative world, while Tom worked in catering, so the windows of time to devote to pizza-making were far and few. They both dreamed of transforming their pizza love into their permanent gigs but weren't ready to dive in. Eventually, Tom's family was tired of the constant dream-talk and wanted to see him pursue it, so they purchased an Ooni Karu oven that he could use to turn the passion into practice.
From solo taste-tests to small pop-ups for family and friends, Joe and Tom eventually perfected their pizza-making and were ready to go public. Over the years, they'd made connections (like Ben and Ryan at Sapori) who were able to help them out this past year by securing a weekly patio and prep spot, giving these two hungry dudes a leg up in a turbulent time.
"In a very weird way, COVID and its restrictions helped provide an environment for us to get started. While we would have both liked to have had larger events with music and big groups of people together having fun, this setup has really been a great space for us to get our feet wet and get the operation down. From here, it's just figuring out who and what we want to be," says co-founder Tom.
They decided on the name "Some Pizza" due to its ironic, tongue-in-cheek nature. With so many hip joints out there, people trying to fit into a different mold, they wanted to be unpretentious and have fun. And fun is definitely what they have each week when the pop-ups are in swing. The music's blaring, jokes are flowing and it's a genuinely good time (in addition to a tasty one).
Now, it's not just the promise of good vibes that makes this pizza pop-up worth visiting; the pies, too, are noteworthy. They've followed the words of their masters (like Joe Beddia and Mark Iacono, to name a couple -- they did give us quite the list), and understand that ingredients are everything.
Spicy soppressata, chilies, mozzarella, tomato and basil.
The duo set out on their creative process by brainstorming ingredients that sounded appealing, testing out a lot of pies by trial and error and really found what stuck -- then they'd figure out a way to showcase them to give the ingredients a new flavourful energy. For example, they have a "Kale Em All" pie with blackened kale and deep red chili cream for the colour and taste, making for a spicy, cheesy, flavourful masterpiece.
And there are more great ones, like the "Wildboye," topped with wild oyster mushrooms, mozzarella, breadcrumbs, parm, and garlic chives.
The friends are always serving up the classics and some inventive specials. For their last event of the season, this weekend, on October 18, the menu showcases an autumnal theme (think pumpkin, Pecorino and spice).
As we enter the colder months, Some Pizza isn't sure what the future holds. But they're looking forward to figuring out their place in Toronto's pizza community.
Pop by their last pop-up of the season on October 18 at Sapori Toronto at 1588 Dundas St W, Toronto.