The phone is ringing off the hook at St. Jacob’s trendiest pizza place, but Those Pizza Guys wouldn’t have it any other way.
Owners of the wood-fired pizza joint Pete Tessaro, Chris Banks and Lori Kieswetter have been working hard to bring their unique offerings to the area during the most recent lockdown.
Tessaro says that when the group converted their mobile pizza business into a brick and mortar location last July, they were warned the winter months might be slow, but the lockdown has meant an influx of takeout orders.
“Fridays and Saturdays during the lockdown we have a lot of orders. I feel like people not having anything to do but get takeout has been part of it,” he said. “It was maybe a blessing in disguise, kind of.”
Tessaro’s theories about the popularity of the restaurant might be too humble, however. Those Pizza Guys were a popular pop-up food joint at Block Three Brewery and became a permanent fixture at their Rock the Block Thursdays before several of the brewery’s owners made them an offer.
In 2019 the house at 9 Front Street was purchased by the owners of the brewery, but it took awhile for renovations to make it perfect for the pizza place to call it home.
“We fell in love with the village and kind of being here and having a home base,” Tessaro said.
A permanent location means the pizza place can serve some of the unique items that were harder to make when they were on the road.
Unlike traditional chain pizza places, Those Pizza Guys use wood-fired ovens to make personal-sized pizzas with some interesting toppings.
Each pizza is four large slices or six smaller ones and fits into a 10-inch pizza box. Tessaro recommends one pizza for each adult ordering.
While the menu features traditional pizza choices like pepperoni and margherita, another popular option called ‘Return of the Mac’, has toppings that mimic the famous McDonald’s burger.
“I feel like a few other restaurants may have done that, or variations like Big Mac perogies. All great chefs steal from each other somewhat,” said Tessaro. “The Big Mac is harder to execute, but having the store front helps us bring that out every day. It’s a pizza that captures attention.”
The hand-crafted nature of the pizzas mean each one is made to order and no two are ever the same.
Tessaro says the group sees their pizzas as a vessel for new toppings and flavours in addition to more expected Italian tastes.
“Wood-fired pizza tends to be minimalist, not a lot of toppings and they stick to Italian ingredients,” said Tessaro. “We like to have fun with our pizzas. We’ve done a kimchi pizza and butter chicken pizza. They turned out well.”
Along-side the regular menu items, Those Pizza Guys add one or two specials each week, items like the Butter Chicken specialty.
“We try to come up with a couple of pizzas that are featured weekly. Sometimes they come back months down the road or variations of them come back. Sometimes there are dessert options.”
A S’mores pizza is a permanent dessert option on the menu, currently. Featuring graham crackers, marshmallows and collate chips, the pizza is reminiscent of the classic camp fire treat.
Serving more than just pizza, the shop has branched out, using the wood ovens to make bread and English muffins.
The bread is used to make a popular meatball sub that has a truly local flavour. With items on the sandwich sourced from Eby Manor Farms and 3Gen Organics, the subs taste a lot like home.
Those Guys Pizza is currently closed Monday and Tuesday, but open the rest of the week for dinner.
“When lockdown happened we added Wednesday, but we shortened our hours during the week.” Tessaro says that now that restrictions are lifting, the group is considering opening again for lunch hours as well.
While they don’t offer delivery, customers can view the menu on their website and call ahead to book a pie for pickup. Those Pizza Guys are online at thosepizzaguys.com or at 226-288-5288.
Written by Elizabeth Bate