Parlour Deep Dish Pizza brings thick-crusted gluttony to downtown Toronto, but it’s going to cost you.
The Grid was rather intrigued by Parlour Deep Dish Pizza, a three-week-old delivery-only service operated by the people behind Trevor Kitchen and Bar and since pizza is the dinner of choice for editors working late on a production night, we bought one to see how it stacks up against our usual orders.
Emphasis on one. A single deep-dish pizza with six slices costs $25 (it’ll satisfy two very hungry people or three regular appetites). Since pickup is not an option, we had to have it delivered through Orderit.ca so that added another $6.95 on the tab (the food-delivery site also takes a 30 per cent cut of sales). After taxes and tip, the price of a single classic pizza containing sausage, mozzarella and tomato sauce cost just over $40. For a pizza. A pizza with cheese, sauce and sausages.
An hour later it arrived at our 1 Yonge offices, which is a 10-minute walk away from Trevor Kitchen and Bar (38 Wellington St. E.), where the pizzas are made. This isn’t a Chicago-style deep-dish pizza, which has a more buttery and layered crust; Parlour’s is more similar to one found in a pie. While everyone here agreed this pie was hot, cheesy and superior to the average big-chain delivery pizza, it was the price that made people do a double take. “I’d rather get two regular pizzas for that price,” said one editor. “I’d pay $25 max including tax and delivery,” said another.
“It makes for a pricey pizza,” admits chef Trevor Wilkinson, the owner of his namesake restaurant. “Most people can get a large one for under $30 delivered but I like to think what we’re doing is different and the pizza itself is substantial.”
Wilkinson says the Parlour idea came from the restaurant’s other chef, Jesse Vallins, a year ago when they were brainstorming new concepts and dishes and toying with the thought of opening another restaurant. “I didn’t know if deep-dish pizza would be the [basis for a] second restaurant but Jesse really dug the idea and there isn’t really any deep-dish pizza in the city,” Wilkonson says. “There’s a place in Mississauga and Richmond Hill but nothing here.”
The goal was to keep the pizza business as a separate entity from the restaurant, which has more of a French menu. “It’s never ever going to be a part of Trevor Kitchen and Bar,” he says. “It’s delivery. It goes out the backdoor to the drivers. No one can come here to pick up a pizza. We don’t want to have a pizza window for it.”
The chef wanted to keep a veil over his new venture, to create an aura of mystery surrounding just who is behind the only place to deliver deep-dish pizza downtown. That lasted a few hours. Initially, on Parlour’s Orderit page, the phone number and address for Trevor Kitchen and Bar were listed (Orderit also does delivery for that restaurant) and food writer Corey Mintz confronted Wilkinson about it, blowing his cover. Nonetheless, Wilkinson says the media attention—and the fact that Orderit made up for the snafu by offering free delivery in the first week—led to them selling out on the second day and subsequent strong sales (though he wouldn’t say exactly how many pizzas they’ve sold so far).
“We’ll see six months from now if we’re going strong,” he says. “We’re selling right now because of the press and because there is no other place selling deep dish here, so we’ll see if we’ll stand the test of time. Who knows, maybe we’ll have our deep-dish pizza place and will be able to have our own drivers and bring the cost down.”
Ten bucks says that, right now, someone in the city is devising a plan to open up their own deep-dish pizza restaurant by the new year.