Who doesn't LOVEPIZZA? Crazy people, that's who.
Now in their third week of opening, LOVEPIZZA has definitely been feeling the love from its customers. With a prime downtown location in the Canterra Shopping Centre (which is also home to the ever popular Burger Priest), LOVEPIZZA fits right in as a trendy and casual, quasi-gourmet slash fast food type of joint.
Walking in, the space is clean and modern. Black and white murals, hexagonal tiles... they definitely designed the restaurant with the minimalist in mind.
Ordering is done at the counter, where you can watch the pizzas being made, fresh to order, conception to birth, right in front of you.
LOVEPIZZA's menu consists of 11 signature pizzas, all for $11.95. You also have a choice between their traditional Caputo "00" crust, a 100% organic whole wheat version, or a gluten free crust for an additional $3.00. If none of their pre-set selections tickles your fancy, you can even build your own with their wide array of sauces, cheeses, proteins, and vegetables (locally sourced when possible). Although toppings are technically unlimited, they recommend no more than four to ensure optimal cooking.
After a quick ride in a small oven for three minutes, the freshly-baked pizzas can be topped off with even more finishing ingredients (eg. parmesan cheese, cherry tomatoes, argula, chili oil, etc.), at no extra charge. Awesomesauce.
To round out the menu, LOVEPIZZA also offers a couple of salads for those more health conscious (although why would you order salad at a pizza place?). Dessert choices also include a tempting-sounding peach pie and different flavour scoops of Pinocchio ice cream.
If you choose to take out, pizzas come in a long rectangular box befitting of their unique oval shape. When dining in, they're served on a black tray, similar to those you'd find in a food court or any fast food place. I thought it was incredibly mindful that they also offer smaller take-out boxes if you aren't able to finish your entire pizza in-store.
LT decided to get one of their signature pizzas, which was the Meatatarian ($11.95). Probably one of their most popular pizzas, this being Alberta and all, the Meatatarian consists of tangy tomato sauce, fior di latte, pepperoni, Spolumbo's Italian sausage, capicolla, and shaved parmesan. Definitely not for the vegetarian or the faint of heart.
KN also hopped on the signature train and ordered the Ode to Ukraine ($11.95). Perogy-inspired, this pizza has roasted garlic spread, orange cheddar, shaved potato, Irvings Farm bacon, and caramelized onions. It's then finished off with green onion and creme fraiche (which KN got on the side). KN liked the salty bites of bacon and thought that the garlic spread definitely upped the savoury factor of the pizza. Though she enjoyed it, she did note that she'd probably pick another pizza next time around.
As for me, I flexed my creative muscles and built my own pizza. With their traditional Caputo '00' dough, I chose a base of roasted garlic spread and fior di latte. For toppings, I maxed out on their 'limit' of four and chose pepperoni, Spolumbo's Italian sausage, roasted corn, and shaved potato. For a touch of greenery, I finished it off with fresh arugula and a final drizzle of organic honey.
I wasn't sure where I was going with my pizza since I just chose toppings that I liked, not necessarily things that went together. Surprisingly, it worked! The crust was thin, but substantial and held up to the weight of the toppings, which they were pretty generous with. The pepperoni and shaved potato slices were able to crisp up a bit while in the oven, and the Italian sausage had a nice spice to it. I added the corn and arugula for color and funsies, but honey on pizza is definitely a life-changer (something I learned from my favourite cavoletti pizza at Famoso's).
If anyone orders this specific topping combination, do you think I can get royalties?
For drinks, water, juice, milk, canned pop, wine, and beer are available. They also carry Grizzly Paw Handcrafted Sodas, which is a company based in Canmore, Alberta. KN got one of their root beers ($3.89). Cool to see local businesses supporting local businesses.
We weren't planning on ordering dessert, but there was a technical issue after my pizza came out of the oven, as well as my sister's. I wasn't really sure what was wrong with them but they scrapped them and remade them. After they were done, they realized they forgot to make a substitution that my sister requested, so the super nice lady offered to make us a peach pie when they were able to get through the line that had formed after us. It was a lovely gesture and one that wasn't necessary since we felt bad enough that food was being wasted.
We were getting ready to leave after we were finished eating since there was still a long line and we didn't want to be an added inconvenience. There were only two ladies working that Sunday afternoon, and despite the fact that they were crazy busy, the lady hopped out behind the counter to our table and personally offered all of us free ice cream instead. They seriously went above and beyond than what is expected in a fast-food style joint.
Not one to turn down ice cream, we just got two to share: vanilla and chocolate ($3.95 each). They also have pistachio. I've actually never heard of Pinnochio's Ice Cream, but it's a local company that supplies various markets and shops around Edmonton. Super smooth and creamy, although I'd recommend waiting a bit for the ice cream to melt slightly since it was a bit icy and hard straight from the freezer. I'll definitely look for the brand the next time I'm at the Italian Centre.
LOVEPIZZA will definitely satisfy any pizza-lover's appetite with their creative toppings and fresh ingredients. They even have a loyalty program where you can earn points with every dollar spent (accumulate 150 points and earn a free pizza!). When you first sign up with them (link here), you can also get $5.00 off your first pizza which is almost half off. Bargain! Free parking downtown is just the icing on the cake.