Detroit-style pizzas are having a moment in Toronto's food scene as of late and Gianna's Patties and Pies is no exception. Home to the former Tennessee Tavern, Gianna's Patties and Pies is slinging Detroit-style pies and stacked patties, with an Italian-American flair.
When COVID-19 closures hit, many restaurants and bars were forced to pivot their operations to takeout or risk permanent closures. Owner Grant van Gameren, who also owns several of Toronto's renowned bars, including Bar Raval and Bar Isabel, among others, figured that Eastern European food wouldn't be very popular for takeout. After bouncing around some ideas with the team, van Gameren felt Detroit-style pizzas and smash burgers would be a convenient and desirable takeout option.
He decided to close down Parkdale's popular Tennessee Tavern for good and replace it with an entirely new restaurant concept. Gianna's Patties and Pies made their debut in late May, offering only curbside pickup and delivery. However, once the city entered Stage 2 of reopening, the team opened up the stunning patio out back for dine-in service.
The quaint patio, accessible only through their back alley, brings summery backyard picnic vibes with bright red benches, dangling string lights, lush greenery and red and white checkered decals.
The menu features six different kinds of Detroit-style pan pizzas, including Tony's Cheese, Old World Pepperoni, Mushroom and Rapini, Spicy Sausage, Hawaiian and Mediterranean.
Each pizza is made with a high hydration dough that is left to ferment for 24 hours and is then parbaked in a 10-inch by 14-inch blue steel treated pan before it is topped with handfuls of mozzarella. The melted cheese creates a deliciously crispy golden brown edge that compliments the soft and spongy focaccia-like dough.
Whether you're team pineapple on pizza or not, Gianna's Hawaiian pizza is a must-try. Topped with succulent braised ham, grilled pineapple, olives, fresh basil and ono grinds sauce, made with pineapple juice and ham drippings, Gianna's Hawaiian pizza is bound to convert at least a few non-pineapple believers.
It wouldn't be a proper pizza joint without pizza's finest companion, the Caesar salad. Creamy housemade Caesar dressing, capers, pizza dough croutons and smokey thick-cut bacon strips separate Gianna's Caesar salad from the rest.
Another must-try at Gianna's is their Spiced Mozza Stuffed Pepper. A poblano pepper is stuffed with an array of Italian sausage spices and mozzarella, breaded and fried and served on a bed of San Marzano tomato sauce.
The Frico Cheeseburger is not your typical American cheeseburger. Ground chuck patty is topped with handfuls of shredded cheese then griddle fried, creating a golden halo of cheesy goodness around the smash patty. The cheeseburger is served on a buttery and pillowy Martin's potato roll and topped with tomatoes, pickles, banana peppers and spicy mayo for an added kick.
For the vegan and vegetarian, The Garden Burger uses a Beyond Meat patty, topped with vegan mayo and vegan cheese, lettuce, tomato, onions and housemade chimichurri.
As for drinks, Gianna's is currently offering wine by the bottle and a limited selection by the glass. Beers are from local craft breweries, including the Hello Friends IPA from Left Field and a Yuzu Saison from Godspeed Brewery.
As we soak in the final days of summer, the boozy pink negroni lemonade makes the perfect patio sipper.
The restaurant is currently renovating the inside of the restaurant and hopes to open by October. In the meantime, Gianna's Patties and Pies is open for takeout, delivery and patio dining Thursday to Sunday from 5 p.m.-10 p.m. and is located at 1554 Queen Street West.