As I take a bite out of my third slice of the morning, I look up and notice that I'm in good company. Shay Mitchell, Ryan Seacrest, Kim Kardashian and Wayne Gretzky — all fans of Prince Street Pizza— stare back at me from their photo-mounted vantage point on the wall. Since opening its first location in New York City in 2012, Prince Street Pizza has racked up a cult following with its extensive range of pizzas. Their Toronto opening marks the pizza brand's first venture outside of the U.S., and adds a new contender for the city's best pizza.
Prince Street Pizza's new location at The Well (472 Front Street West) is something of a homecoming for Lawrence Longo. The entrepreneur, originally from Toronto, fell in love with the pizza at first bite. "Prince Street Pizza was the best pizza I've ever had. I'd go there, and I'd be all lonely sitting by myself, eating this pizza, and the pizza made me happy."
After meeting with the Moran family, who own Prince Street Pizza, Longo became a full partner and CEO of the iconic pizzeria. Following locations in Los Angeles and Miami, Longo looked to home for their first international outpost. "It took a little longer than expected, but I'm so happy to be bringing it to Toronto."
Prince Street Pizza is famous for its Sicilian Squares. Similar to Descendant and other Detroit-style doughs, the pizza is rectangular. Unlike its Michigan cousins, you can eat more than one slice without needing to be airlifted out of there. PSP is particularly well-known for the Spicy Spring, their version of a pepperoni pizza. It's absolutely loaded with crispy pep (we're talking nice thick slices, too) and slathered in The Fra Diavolo Sauce, which gives it a real kick. A slice is $6.75, or the whole pie is $40. Or, you can take it and bake it at home for $30.
I also love the Naughty Pie, which includes that same delicious pepperoni but opts for their creamy Spicy Vodka Sauce, ricotta and a little hot honey for some extra decadence. Prince Street Pizza's philosophy is that "if you can put it on pasta, then you can put it on pizza.” Find pesto sauce, sweet marinara and more vodka sauce (containing prosciutto) on these saucy pies. And don't sleep on their Original Prince, a classic cheese pizza that is honestly one of my favourites.
Pizzas are also available in round format in a variety of flavours. Delivery will begin soon, but Longo says he wants the people of Toronto to come to the store and get the full experience first. In New York, Prince Street Pizza customers regularly wait two hours for a slice, so prepare for similar pizza bedlam in town.
When I ask Longo if he's prepared for some friendly pizza rivalry, he says he's not here to ruffle feathers. "I don't want to get too much into pizza politics," laughs Longo. "We're not coming here being like, 'Oh, we're the big, bad boys from New York City. But I think Prince Street Pizza is an institution."
As for his favourite local pizza? "Let me just say that Toronto's got amazing pizza. Badiali would probably be one of the best pizzas in any city." One thing is for sure — Prince Street Pizza is absolutely up there with the best pizza in Toronto. Let the slice wars commence.