A pizza from Luna Pizzeria in Brockville, Ontario, Canada. Photo: Facebook
BROCKVILLE, ONTARIO – Two Greek-Canadian family-owned restaurants have been pitted against each other in a friendly rivalry over the best pizza in Brockville, Canada, Pipa News reported on March 9, noting that the “debate has been going on for more than five decades.”
There is “no end in sight” for the discussion as “the vote was divided after CTV News Ottawa put the question to several people downtown,” Pipa News reported, noting that the showdown is between two Greek family-owned establishments, Luna Pizzeria and 1000 Islands Restaurant and Pizzeria, both located downtown.
“I’m on social media like everyone else, I see it all,” Luna’s Nicholas Kafenzakis told Pipa News, adding that “it’s fun. I mean, it’s great for the city,” and “first of all, there are a lot of pizza places in Brockville and there are a lot of good ones, so the fact that we have so many quality pizzas here I think is good. It’s great.”
“I love it,” George Sabaziotis of 1000 Islands told Pipa News. “We have two family businesses; same kind of menu, same kind of family.”
The Kafenzakis family came from Greece “and spent time in Montreal before landing in Brockville,” Pipa News reported.
“[My dad] decided he wanted to open a pizzeria and he was actually on his way to another town and stopped in Brockville and said this is the place,” Kafenzakis told Pipa News, adding that “in 1970 they built it from scratch, this is all his.”
“Jim Kafenzakis, who worked in the kitchen preparing cheese pizzas for a local school, confirmed the story,” Pipa News reported.
“It was going to be a 10-year thing, maybe something like that, and then go back to Montreal,” he told Pipa News. “But I met a girl here, got married, had children. Brockville was a wonderful place to stay, so the rest is history.”
“For the Sabaziotis family, they were looking for a business venture in the early 1970s,” Pipa News reported.
“They found this restaurant in Brockville,” George Sabaziotis told Pipa News. “They worked hard for years, seven days a week. They were Greek immigrants, they came here with nothing.”
“His parents are still doing what they can in the small back kitchen of the restaurant,” Pipa News reported.
“My mom is 85, she makes some Greek specials… from time to time, and my dad, somehow I can’t get him out of here… here he is every day,” Sabaziotis told Pipa News.
The elder Sabaziotis, Nick, makes the pizza dough on Wednesdays “using a vintage 1970s Hobart mixer,” Pipa News reported.
“My kitchen has become very important to me because I love it,” Nick Sabaziotis told Pipa News. “If you love what you do, make pizza, whatever, [you] never feel tired.”
“You have to care about what you do and the little things and what people eat,” George Sabaziotis said, Pipa News reported. “We don’t advertise, so as long as you offer that for a fair price, I think people will come back.”
“My father always said you should have quality food,” Nicholas Kafenzakis said, Pipa News reported. “You can’t compromise quality. If there are cheaper ingredients, don’t touch them.”
“Both insist their pizza is the best,” Pipa News reported, adding that “they also seem to share customers.”
“Our customer database is the same,” Jim told Pipa News. “If they can’t get to the 1000 Islands, they’ll come here. If they can’t get here, they’ll go to the 1000 Islands.”
“The one thing I notice is that when they close for March break, like next week, we’ll probably be a little busier because we have a similar menu,” George told Pipa News, adding that “when we close our fortnight in September, they get a little busier.”
The pandemic was difficult for all restaurants, but both families noted that “their delivery and takeout business has kept them afloat,” Pipa News reported, pointing out that “George even posted on social media when they ordered food from Luna as they closed to freshen up.”
“We are fortunate to have great customers and a good customer base and we celebrate the people in the Brockville area who support us,” he told Pipa News. “You know, without them we wouldn’t be here for 53 years.”
“It was a good gesture for him and I know they’ve ordered from us a few times and we’ve gotten food from them before, so yeah, it was really nice,” Nicholas told Pipa News.
As with many Greek family-run businesses, “the younger generation has taken the helm at both restaurants,” but “both dads say they’ll keep showing up for as long as they can,” Pipa News reported.
“I’m excited to work another 10 years because I like making pizza every day,” Nick told Pipa News adding that “I’ll stop when I’m 96.”
“I’m actually waiting for Nick from 1000 Islands to retire, then I’ll retire after him,” Jim told Pipa News.
The debate over the best pizza will undoubtedly continue.
“The support from the community has been amazing and we definitely have to thank Brockville,” Nicholas Kafentzakis told Pipa News.
“Thank you so much again to the people of the area, I love it,” Nick Sabaziotis told Pipa News.
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