I tried Chef Mario’s pizza for the first time last summer when he was in the Bridgeland/Renfrew area making pizzas in his mobile pizzeria. Even though I don’t live in the Bridgeland area, I managed to track down Chef Mario by phone one evening and found out where he was parked so I could go and order a pizza that was freshly baked from the wood fire oven in his mobile pizza truck. I was pretty impressed with the hand tossed authentic Italian thin-crust pizza he made. The toppings were really fresh and the crust was perfectly crispy and chewy. The only downside with this set up was that Chef Mario was only out with the pizza truck typically on Friday and Saturday evenings and that’s only if he wasn’t busy catering events.
When I heard a couple of months ago that Chef Mario had decided to set up shop again in Bridgeland, I was excited to check it out. At his new shop, he is open Wednesday to Sunday from 4 pm to 10 pm. With this new shop, Chef Mario has introduced a few new items to his menu. Besides the traditional 12″ pizzas, he has introduced the Pizza Cone Flower, which is basically a personal-sized pizza in the shape of a flower. Chef Mario has a special machine to form the pizza dough into the shape of a flower. The sauce is placed in the hollow cone part and the toppings on the flat part of the flower. The flower is then placed in a special oven to bake. I think these Pizza Cone Flowers are a nifty idea and are perfect as street food. The hollow cone part makes it easier to hold while eating than a regular slice of pizza.
Chef Mario has also introduced meat cones on his new menu. I’m not sure what they look like as they we not available on the day of my visit. For dessert, he has introduced a couple of dessert pizza cone flowers.
Chef Mario has a new pizza oven in his shop. It is no longer a wood burning oven. This pizza oven has a mechanism similar to a conveyor belt. The freshly prepared pizza is placed on one end of the oven and slowly moves through the oven as it bakes. The pizza comes out on the other end when it is done baking.
On this visit, my friend and I decided to share a 12″ Funghi pizza ($16). It consisted of a base of pomodoro (tomato sauce) and was topped with provolone, bocconcini, mushrooms and prosciutto cotto. The ingredients were very fresh and the texture of the crust was perfectly chewy. However, I was a bit disappointed this crust wasn’t crispy like the version I had last summer which was baked in his wood burning oven at the back of his mobile pizza truck.
For dessert, we tried the Pulcinella Flower ($5). Basically, it was one of those pizza cone flowers topped with nutella. After the flower was out of the oven, we had a choice of gelato flavours. Chef Mario has partnered with Fiasco Gelato and has been coming up with his own gelato flavours. We chose the Pistachio as well as the White Chocolate Raspberry. Like with most things white chocolate-flavoured, we couldn’t really taste the white chocolate in the White Chocolate Raspberry gelato as it is very mild in flavour. We definitely could taste the fresh whole raspberries that were used in this gelato. I loved the bright and bold flavour of the raspberries. The only thing I wasn’t as crazy about was that because whole fresh raspberries were used, when they were frozen in the gelato, they turned a little icy. So admist the smooth gelato, every now and then we would encounter icy chunks of raspberry. The Pistachio gelato was perfect! It was definitely the favourite between the two flavours! Both my friend and I were impressed that whole chunks of pistachio nut were mixed into the gelato. We could taste the freshness of the pistachio nuts. I can’t wait to go back to have this Pistachio gelato again!
A couple of things to note about this shop in Bridgeland. They only accept cash. The nearest ATM is in the 7-eleven next door. This shop is meant for take-out only. Though there are a few chairs inside the shop for you to sit while waiting for your pizza to be made, it is not meant for dining in. There are no benches or picnic tables beside the shop either. My friend and I found a bench kitty-corner to the shop and ended up eating our pizza there since the weather was pretty nice that evening. I guess if the weather wasn’t as nice, we would have to eat in the car.
Also, with the recent Food Truck Launch, Chef Mario has been back on the road again occasionally with his mobile pizzeria. However, since my initial visit to his original mobile pizzeria last summer, he has acquired a second mobile pizza truck. On this newer truck (the silver-coloured one), I think it is equipped with a different pizza oven but I don’t think it is a wood burning one. Lately, I’ve seen him with the newer truck at the last few food truck events. I still miss the pizza from that wood burning oven in his original mobile pizzeria.
814 1 Ave NE
(403) 515-0065 (No orders by phone)