I live near my favourite pizza place in the world, home of the Best Donair Sub Ever, the kind of donair a girl could marry and live happily ever after with. It’s an independently owned joint, not part of a chain like the ones that fill your mailbox with flyers touting Family Specials. I’ve been ordering from this place for almost 10 years and I’ve never had a bad experience.
A while ago, stiff competition arrived in the form of King of Donair, in a strip mall just across the highway from my spot. I worried the KOD rep would run the little place out of town, but no go. Even take-out royalty couldn’t compete with the local favourite and the KOD closed shop. However, in the same strip mall, in a storefront that’s also housed a Chinese restaurant and a fish and chips store, another pizza place is set to do battle.
This time, it’s the spreading-faster-than-wildfire Pizza Girls. The Pizza Girls are three daughters of Sackville Pizza/Appetizers founder Peter Dib. They opened their first shop in Fall River and now have nine locations in New Brunswick and Nova Scotia.
The Bedford location is the most recent addition to the franchise, which emphasizes food quality, cleanliness and customer service. There’s been quite a buzz about how good the place is, so I’m obliged to see for myself.
I feel guilty, dirty almost, as I dial the Pizza Girls number. Cheery phone-answering-order-taking girl tells me my food will be there in 45 minutes; less than a half hour later, the equally cheery delivery guy is on the front step.
We start with items that do best when served immediately. Fish and chips (three pieces, $7.95) come in a cute striped box, with plenty of tartar sauce and hot fries (the frozen kind, but not the coated ones, yeah!). The fish has a heavy batter that’s not at all greasy, and the fish tastes fresh and flaky. Fried chicken (two pieces, $4.50), in a box like the fish, tastes very much like a high quality ready-made product that I’m familiar with, and that’s fine by me. Better a good pre-made product than a crappy homemade one. The crispy chicken is spicy, juicy and tender.
Then we try the Donair Pouch ($7.50). This is not a little pocket, no indeed. This is a pizza crust (9-inch, I think) stuffed (and I mean stuffed) with cheese, tomatoes, onions and donair meat, with a cup of really good donair sauce on the side (What? You’ve never seen anyone drink donair sauce through a straw before?). This monstrosity is baked or fried, your choice (ours is baked). The crust is great, the tomatoes scarce, the onions and cheese plentiful, but the donair meat is woefully, disappointingly bland.
A large (16-inch) pizza with pepperoni, bacon, mushroom, onion and green pepper ($16.10) doesn’t just score a touchdown; it does a little in-your-face victory dance in the end zone. This is one amazing thin-crust pizza, not one of the very thin crusts that taste like stale crackers but one of the ones thin enough to spread the toppings right to the edge. The cheese is plentiful but doesn’t disguise the toppings, which are fresh tasting and certainly not lacking.
My guilt at cheating on my regular pizza place is somewhat alleviated by the fact that the donair meat was not that great, but while my donair heart is safe in its original spot, my pizza love has now found another.
Pizza Girls 936 Bedford Highway 830-4444 Sun 11am-12am Mon-Thu 11am-1am Fri-Sat 11am-3am
Where do your food loyalties lie? Find Liz Feltham online at: www.foodcritic.ca.