By Shawna Wagman
“If it was up to me, pizzas would only have one topping,” says Yoav D’Vaja. “For me, it would be olives.” D’Vaja is the owner of downtown bakery Bread & Sons, where lineups often spill out the door at lunchtime for his thin-crust, all-vegetarian pies — sold by the slice.
The staff begged, and eventually he allowed a second topping and then a third; it soon became clear that more toppings were more popular. Since then, D’Vaja has surrendered and worked to create new combinations of toppings that satisfy his creative vision.
The fact that many of them reference albums by Tom Waits (Franks Wild Years, Swordfishtrombones…), an artist known for his distinctive junkyard sound and trademark growl, gives a hint that these pies are far from the frivolous pepperoni variety; instead they are moody, earthy, and unconventional.
Last October, D’Vaja began extending business hours on Saturday nights — staying open until 11 p.m. — to offer these individual made-to-order pizzas for $15 each. The Italian Grandma pizza wasn’t Waits-inspired, but pays homage to another class of artist driven by staunchness. Small pizza, $15, large, $25. Bread & Sons Bakery, 195 Bank St., 613-230-5302, www.breadandsons.ca.
ANALYZING THE GOODNESS
• Blobs of melted bocconcini, just enough to hold everything together
• Clusters of charred arugula — wilted, wild, earthy, and a bit bitter
• The texture of the thinly sliced Yukon Gold potatoes echoes that of the crust — crisp on the edges and soft and bendable within
• Dried basil speckles the whole pizza
• A thin, crispy crust is slightly denser and chewier than the pizzas served by the slice at lunchtime. Perfumed with coarse sea salt and Extra Virgin olive oil
• A whole head of garlic, cloves roasted until supremely soft and mellow, adds to the signature earthy flavour
• Tangy cherry tomatoes offer tiny bursts of sweetness
This “dish” was featured in the February 2012 Interiors edition.