As a foodie, I just love what Na’eem Adam and Thierry Rassam of People Mover Technologies have done the last few years with festivals focusing on burgers, poutine and most recently pizza.
We are now in the midst of the third edition of La Pizza Week, marked across Canada, through May 14. Participating restaurants are offering special pizza creations to the public. This year’s partners are Saputo, Sysco, and Doordash.
During La Pizza Week, each participating restaurant is putting forth limited-edition pizzas designed especially for the festival. Customers can participate by trying these new and exciting pizza creations, sharing their experiences on social media, and voting for their favorites. With the added convenience of being able to order takeout through their exclusive delivery partner, DoorDash, and vote for their favorite pizzas online, La Pizza Week makes it easier than ever to support local businesses and indulge in delicious pizza, whether dining in or taking out.
With over 500,000 festival-goers each year (and growing), La Pizza Week is already considered a must-attend experience for pizza lovers nationwide.
Montreal had 26 restaurants enter the festival and I visited two of them: Pizzéria No. 900 and Dunn’s Famous on Decarie.
Pizzéria No. 900 (https://no900.com) now has 28 locations. Brand Manager Gabrielle Hamelin is presently spending a lot of time getting the new Longueuil spot off the ground. I dropped by the franchise on Monkland Avenue in NDG, operated by Patrice Tremblay and his wife (they also own the Rockland locale). This is a real Neapolitan pizza, prepared according to the rules of the art and cooked in 90 seconds. Here, the ovens are at 900 degrees Fahrenheit, hence the name of the chain.
Their entry is called the Charlevoix, containing organic meats, tomato sauce, pancetta, ventricina, onions, fior di latte, nduja, pecorino romano, and black pepper. I really liked it. Oh yes, it is made with Saputo cheese.
While respecting the highest standards of quality and freshness as well as an excellent quality-price ratio, items here come from mainly local products. For example, their cold cuts come from the Charlevoix and the Laurentians regions.
The team at the Monkland location also treated me to a roasted parmesan melt and an order of polenta, which contains roasted mushroom and truffle salt, ‘nduja, mozzarella di Bufala, ricotta salata, caramelized onions and parsley. To wash it all down, the organic chinotto direct from Sicily, Italy certainly hit the spot.
The No. 900 chain was started in 2014 by Alexandre Brunet, the founder of Stromboli Pizza on Mount Royal Avenue and Dominique Bujould. She first established Sushi Shop.
For menus and locations, go to https://no900.com. You can have your order delivered by each restaurant directly (the preferred method) or via Uber Eats, Skip the Dishes, or Door Dash.
There are about 18 different kinds of pizzas on the main menu, plus a seasonal blue potato and pancetta edition and a new vegan cheese one.
My next visit was to my man Tony Sama at Dunn’s Famous on Decarie (www.dunnsdecarie.ca). I usually order one of their trademark smoked meat sandwiches when I visit. But for the festival, I needed to sample their all-dressed pizza (beef pepperoni, green pepper, mushroom) topped with their signature copped smoked meat. On the side, I had a piping hot bowl of matzoh ball soup and for dessert, I was sent home with enough for two days: a preview of their soon-to-be regular Black Forest cake (wow!!!) and their decadent chocolate cake.
Tony sent me home with two pizzas, so I had my work colleagues Wanda and Frank enjoy one of them. And did they ever? “The pizza was fantastic, very hearty pizza with a great blend of flavors from the pepperoni and of course, our Montreal smoked meat toppings on it,” said Wanda. “I would gladly order from there again! It definitely hit the spot.”
This was my first time trying a Dunn’s pizza and I must say my reaction was precisely like that of Wanda and Frank: beyond delicious.
“It is one of our best sellers,” said Sama, who as general manager has steered the ship here for eight years. “We did Poutine and Burger Weeks, so why not pizza? The one we are promoting has always been on our menu so La Pizza Week gives us a chance to give it more exposure.”
The 10-inch pizzas at Dunn’s are perfect to share for two people. I will certainly be heading back to Decarie for more of these.
Since 1927, Dunn’s has been serving their family recipe slow cured marinated brisket better known as “Old Fashioned Smoked Meat,” chargrilled steaks and burgers, “Montreal Poutine,” homemade soups, signature appetizers and so much more.
Dunn’s Famous opened on Decarie Boulevard, near Jean Talon, almost 15 years ago in the spot that once housed La Diligence (The Stage Coach). It shares the same parking lot with Kanda Sushi and Amir. The dining room can seat 105. They also have a busy takeout business and offer home delivery from 5 pm to 11 pm., the latter requiring a minimum $15 order before tax. The place is open from 10 am to midnight Sunday to Thursday and 10 am to 2 pm Fridays and Saturdays.
The Decarie location has a number of flat-screen TVs.
La Pizza Week Translates Into a Boost in Sales
“Our goal, with every festival we organize, is to extend our unwavering support to the local restaurant communities across Canada,” says Rassam. “Pizza, much like burgers and poutine, is an adored dish that brings together hundreds of thousands of people. With La Pizza Week, we anticipate that local restaurants will enjoy a boost in sales, thereby creating a positive impact on the entire industry and promoting its growth and sustainability.”
As Adam notes, “Pizza is a great theme for our festivals. It’s one of the most loved dishes in the world. No two pizzas are the same and the best part is that pizza is made to be shared!”
I asked Adam how Canadians have responded to La Pizza Week this year. “Many Canadians have gone out and encouraged their local pizza joints so far,” he said.
Can we expect more than 26 restaurants in Montreal to participate next year? “We always want to see more restaurants in our festival lineup,” he said. “Our mission is to promote local restaurant communities while oﬀering a platform for food lovers to discover new places and dishes. Every year, more and more restaurants join and we are conﬁdent to see this translating into next year. Our goal is for the participating restaurants to get value through visibility, sales and doing something fun. Focusing on this will attract the right clientele. As a national festival, we invite all restaurants across Canada to participate and share their delicious pizza creation with us.”
For more details and to find all of the restaurants participating log on to www.lapizzaweek.com