TasteToronto | Toronto's famous backyard pizza business to open up shop in Riverdale

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Toronto's famous backyard pizza business to open up shop in Riverdale

Toronto's famous backyard pizza business to open up shop in Riverdale

Toronto's famous backyard pizza business to open up shop in Riverdale

One Night Only is a family-run business that serves up true homestyle pizzas. What started as a backyard operation has blossomed into a real business that owner Luke Pollard says is new waters.

Pollard works in construction and is also an artist––he started making pizzas at home for his friends and family long before the pandemic hit. 

“Our place was where everybody––all our friends––would come over on the weekends. It was kind of the hangout house,” said Pollard. “I started making pizzas a few years ago and I just went down a rabbit hole.”

It became a weekly tradition where Pollard and his wife would have their friends over on the weekends to hang out and enjoy some pizza. When the pandemic put his family’s work on hold, Pollard continued slinging pies in his kitchen.

“I was obsessed,” he said.

Luke Pollard, owner of One Night Only Pizza Toronto, stands out front of his new storefront in Riverdale.

Luke Pollard, owner of One Night Only, stands in front of his new storefront on Pape Avenue in Riverdale.

While Pollard is the cook behind what has been referred to as Toronto’s ‘best kept secret’, he credits his wife for starting up the business.

“My wife was just like, ‘let’s just start selling the pizzas,’ and at first I was like, that’s crazy,” said Pollard. “But she just ordered the boxes and put together a list of friends and family and reached out.”

Pollard started out making just 10 pies every Saturday to give to his friends, which he already thought was overwhelming. Every week they would reach out to new friends and neighbours and see if they wanted a box. The system was simple: you pre-ordered the pizza through Instagram or text, Pollard made it, then you came and picked it up from his house.

Soon after his first few batches, word spread and Pollard was getting a slew of requests.

“At this point now, out of the house, I’ve ramped it up where I’m doing 25 [pizzas] a night on a Saturday, and that still isn’t enough to keep everyone happy,” Pollard said.

Their next step was to open up on a larger scale. The business is now slated to open a storefront just a stone’s throw away from their Riverdale home.

A homemade pizza from One Night Only Pizza Toronto

“It just seemed like all the stars aligned,” said Pollard. “It was one of those opportunities that you can’t pass up.”

The space, located along Pape Avenue, was formerly known as Pape Pizza and Variety. The longstanding business was owned and operated by a neighbour of Pollard’s who eventually decided to pass on the space.

Pollard says they approached the shop multiple times in the summer of 2020 to run a pop-up, but the owner was hesitant at first. After some back-and-forth, ONO hosted a successful event which eventually inspired the long-time owners to transfer the space to Pollard permanently.

“She just kind of had an epiphany that she didn’t want to run this business anymore,” said Pollard, who mentioned he’d always envisioned he would one day have a connection with the shop.

“She just reached out and asked if we wanted to take over the spot.”

Although having a brick and mortar location typically involves scaling up operations, Pollard says he’s just looking to recreate what he already does at home.

Luke Pollard outside of the new physical One Night Only store in Riverdale.

Luke Pollard, owner of One Night Only, stands in front of his new storefront on Pape Avenue in Riverdale.

ONO is currently working on building their website that will be their platform for ordering and paying. The entire ordering system will remain very similar to what his wife and him have been doing for months––placing an order through an Instagram message.

Pollard doesn’t plan on offering a walk-in system at ONO, and will solely operate by selling pizzas that have been preordered. While Pollard has made what he claims is, “the best pizza I can possibly make”, he isn’t a restaurant professional. Operating a full-fledged business might be a little daunting, and their expertise lies in construction, design and art rather than managing a restaurant operation.

Still, he says that he’s made a lot of pizza and that the last year operating the home business has been a form of training to prepare him for this storefront. Pollard will be slinging pies three nights a week, upgrading from the 'one night only' quota. With no immediate plans to change the overall operations, Pollard sees ONO scaling up organically in the future.

"It's certainly going to be community-based and for whoever in the city is willing to come over to the east side for good pizza," he said.

There is no set opening date for the ONO shop, but is expected to be early this year. The interior is currently being renovated by Pollard and his wife––a challenge that is not so intimidating given their background.

Toronto's famous backyard pizza business to open up shop in Riverdale

News

7 days ago

Toronto's famous backyard pizza business to open up shop in Riverdale

Larry Heng

Larry Heng

Instagram

One Night Only is a family-run business that serves up true homestyle pizzas. What started as a backyard operation has blossomed into a real business that owner Luke Pollard says is new waters.

Pollard works in construction and is also an artist––he started making pizzas at home for his friends and family long before the pandemic hit. 

“Our place was where everybody––all our friends––would come over on the weekends. It was kind of the hangout house,” said Pollard. “I started making pizzas a few years ago and I just went down a rabbit hole.”

It became a weekly tradition where Pollard and his wife would have their friends over on the weekends to hang out and enjoy some pizza. When the pandemic put his family’s work on hold, Pollard continued slinging pies in his kitchen.

“I was obsessed,” he said.

Luke Pollard, owner of One Night Only Pizza Toronto, stands out front of his new storefront in Riverdale.

Luke Pollard, owner of One Night Only, stands in front of his new storefront on Pape Avenue in Riverdale.

While Pollard is the cook behind what has been referred to as Toronto’s ‘best kept secret’, he credits his wife for starting up the business.

“My wife was just like, ‘let’s just start selling the pizzas,’ and at first I was like, that’s crazy,” said Pollard. “But she just ordered the boxes and put together a list of friends and family and reached out.”

Pollard started out making just 10 pies every Saturday to give to his friends, which he already thought was overwhelming. Every week they would reach out to new friends and neighbours and see if they wanted a box. The system was simple: you pre-ordered the pizza through Instagram or text, Pollard made it, then you came and picked it up from his house.

Soon after his first few batches, word spread and Pollard was getting a slew of requests.

“At this point now, out of the house, I’ve ramped it up where I’m doing 25 [pizzas] a night on a Saturday, and that still isn’t enough to keep everyone happy,” Pollard said.

Their next step was to open up on a larger scale. The business is now slated to open a storefront just a stone’s throw away from their Riverdale home.

A homemade pizza from One Night Only Pizza Toronto

“It just seemed like all the stars aligned,” said Pollard. “It was one of those opportunities that you can’t pass up.”

The space, located along Pape Avenue, was formerly known as Pape Pizza and Variety. The longstanding business was owned and operated by a neighbour of Pollard’s who eventually decided to pass on the space.

Pollard says they approached the shop multiple times in the summer of 2020 to run a pop-up, but the owner was hesitant at first. After some back-and-forth, ONO hosted a successful event which eventually inspired the long-time owners to transfer the space to Pollard permanently.

“She just kind of had an epiphany that she didn’t want to run this business anymore,” said Pollard, who mentioned he’d always envisioned he would one day have a connection with the shop.

“She just reached out and asked if we wanted to take over the spot.”

Although having a brick and mortar location typically involves scaling up operations, Pollard says he’s just looking to recreate what he already does at home.

Luke Pollard outside of the new physical One Night Only store in Riverdale.

Luke Pollard, owner of One Night Only, stands in front of his new storefront on Pape Avenue in Riverdale.

ONO is currently working on building their website that will be their platform for ordering and paying. The entire ordering system will remain very similar to what his wife and him have been doing for months––placing an order through an Instagram message.

Pollard doesn’t plan on offering a walk-in system at ONO, and will solely operate by selling pizzas that have been preordered. While Pollard has made what he claims is, “the best pizza I can possibly make”, he isn’t a restaurant professional. Operating a full-fledged business might be a little daunting, and their expertise lies in construction, design and art rather than managing a restaurant operation.

Still, he says that he’s made a lot of pizza and that the last year operating the home business has been a form of training to prepare him for this storefront. Pollard will be slinging pies three nights a week, upgrading from the 'one night only' quota. With no immediate plans to change the overall operations, Pollard sees ONO scaling up organically in the future.

"It's certainly going to be community-based and for whoever in the city is willing to come over to the east side for good pizza," he said.

There is no set opening date for the ONO shop, but is expected to be early this year. The interior is currently being renovated by Pollard and his wife––a challenge that is not so intimidating given their background.

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