Eating & Drinking

Oven Brothers backyard pizza ovens — made in Ottawa

Just in time for backyard patio season! Three entrepreneurial pizza lovers have launched Oven Brothers, selling made-in-Ottawa wood-burning ovens that turn out perfect pies in just two minutes.

The genesis for the great backyard pizza-oven plan was a conversation last summer between friends JP Normand and Gord Jones. “We were talking about how great it would be to have our own pizza ovens in the backyard, but when we looked around there didn’t seem to be much out there for regular guys,” explains Normand. After seeing outdoor ovens ranging in price from $4,000-$16,000, they decided to design their own.

They looked at brick-and-mortar models but knew that they would eventually crack during the harsh Ottawa winter. They then tried modifying a charcoal barbecue but it didn’t quite make the grade. The breakthrough came with the arrival of Gilles Levesque, a.k.a., the third Oven Brother. Levesque, with a background in AutoCAD and a genius for tinkering, quickly mocked up his dream pizza oven.

Oven Brothers pizza ovens arrive in a crate and can be assembled without any tools. Photo: Oven Brothers
Oven Brothers pizza ovens arrive in a crate and can be assembled without any tools. Photo: Oven Brothers

The partners had the pieces laser cut out of carbon steel at a local metal shop, then spent the winter cooking up backyard pizzas and tweaking the design to perfect it.

By last November they had their prototypes finalized, and in late May Oven Brothers debuted The Original Bro ($1,999.99) and The Big Bro ($2,950), two sizes of easy-to-assemble carbon-steel pizza ovens. The back parking lot of Kichesippi Beer was the venue for the launch party, and 480 slices of expertly charred Margherita pizza slices were served in one afternoon.

The Big Bro" pizza oven can cook two pies in two minutes. Photo: Chris Villeneuve, juniorandthekid.com
The Big Bro” pizza oven can cook two pies in two minutes. Photo: Chris Villeneuve, juniorandthekid.com

Now that the pizza ovens have been perfected, they can be cut to order, with the crated pizza-oven components delivered within a week or two of each order. City Bites caught up with partner JP Normand to find out more about Oven Brothers’ upcoming pie plans — and their made-in-Ottawa philosophy.

What do you get?

All the parts to assemble your wood-fired oven, obviously — plus a made-in-Ottawa wooden pizza peel; an aluminum pizza peel; a pizza bubble popper; a pizza dough cutter; an oven brush and scraper. The idea is that, as soon as you’ve assembled your oven, you’ve got all the accessories you need to fire it up and get cooking.

Photo: Oven Brothers
Photo: Oven Brothers

How does it Work?

Simple. It’s wood fired, which means you have two chambers — a lower chamber for the fire and and an upper chamber for the pizza. Once the oven hits 750F, pop in the pizza and it will be ready in two minutes. Home chefs will likely quickly move beyond pizza to experiment with using their oven for simple dishes such as salmon on a cedar plank (Normand says it takes just 9-10 minutes) and nachos, before moving on to breads, stews, and a host of other recipes. 

Future Plans

Levesque is already well into designing a family of products to complement the ovens, starting with a prep table with steel legs and a butcher-block top. A cut-out along the length of the counter provides space for inset ingredient trays over ice. The trio is also researching the idea of a subscription service for a dough mix (just add water!).