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After a sold-out opening weekend, Slowhand Sourdough in Riverdale has quickly become one of Toronto's most sought-after and drool-worthy backyard pizza pop-ups.
Dan Ewing and Brett Feeley are two east-end dads who have shared their love of pizza for many, many years. After becoming "underemployed" due to the pandemic, they both immediately turned to baking as a way to release the lockdown tension. Dan had begun cooking up fresh Neapolitan pies in his backyard for his neighbours, and Brett found himself constantly in the kitchen. It didn't take long for them to realize they should take advantage of their newfound time and join forces to create a pop-up pizza business!
Their ultimate goal was to create a unique product that would not only taste delicious but would travel and reheat well for those picking up and enjoying at home. They also wanted to be sure their concept would fill a gap in the already competitive Toronto pizza industry. After months of market research, making hundreds of pizza doughs, and consulting with bread experts in Canada and the US, it became clear that sourdough was the answer.
Being major fans of deep-dish pizza, their product is a hybrid of several styles from Rome, Detroit, Sicily and San Francisco. To ensure a consistent recipe, all of Slowhand's dough is meticulously crafted by hand using an often temperamental sourdough starter.
"You're dealing with a living culture that responds to how you feed and water it," says co-owner Dan Ewing. This is the main reason why most pizza places stray away from the sourdough base -- it's very time-consuming to perfect and requires lots of TLC. The result, however, is a light and airy crust that is easier to digest and doesn't leave you full after the first two slices. There is also no added sugar in their tomato sauce, keeping all ingredients as basic, natural and healthy as possible.
While Dan and Brett are currently operating out of one of their homes, they see the demand for more and have set out to find a permanent brick and mortar location in the east end. In the meantime, they have secured a professional-grade spiral mixer to keep up with what they expect to be a very busy second opening.
As it stands, the best way to get your hands on one of these $10 pies is to keep your eyes peeled on their Instagram page where they will announce upcoming pop-up details including how to place an order, and where they will be located.