One of my feel-good discoveries during the COVID-19 confinement period was a novel pizza concept by the name of Mama Sofia. In August of 2020, at the height of the pandemic, I was approached by the folks behind this N.D.G. operation to check out their proposition.
In short, Mama Sofia sells you the raw pizza; you then take it home and bake it. This low-key enterprise has slowly amassed a loyal neighborhood following throughout its decade in business. As I was hosting a couple of friends to watch the NBA finals at my place tonight, I dropped by for a couple of pies.
If I'm making Mama Sofia sound like a quick-fix alternative to frozen pizza, it is anything but that. Pies are made to order using fresh ingredients, then served in oven-proof, biodegradable platters which won't burn. The thinking is: let them do the hard part while you take care of the easy one.
There is also the added benefit of foregoing the sales tax; since Mama Sofia holds a license for a grocery store – as opposed to a restaurant. The menu allows the choice of crust – regular thin, whole wheat and sesame – in three sizes – medium to extra large – and lists a plethora of pies to choose from – including dessert options.
As a non-pork eater, I am always on the lookout for an alternative to swine on my meat pizza. I certainly lucked out with this Philly cheese steak pie, a pizza version of the famous submarine sandwich by the same name. A soft, medium-thickness crust carried shreds of flat steak, mushrooms, onions and green peppers. The winner here is the mix of mozzarella and cheesy Philly sauce, which combined for rich, creamy goodness.
A little less satisfying than the Philly pizza, the Mexican pie still delivered. An excessive variety and amount of toppings – ground beef, olives, sun-dried tomatoes, hot peppers, taco spice, etc. – overpowered the cheese and tomato sauce. The crust was also tougher with this one, but that is likely due to me placing both pies in the oven simultaneously, contrary to what the instructions prescribe. I won't improvise next time!
Even more unique and peculiar than Sofia's concept is its founder's profile. A Renaissance man of sorts, Denis Mavrias holds a PhD in biochemistry, teaches hotel studies at LaSalle College, holds a real estate brokerage license and evidently runs a pizza operation fulltime. I have sighted the elderly man during each of my four visits, either manning the cash register or supervising in the kitchen.
While his bake-it-yourself proposition is not suitable for all occasions, I found it convenient to pick your pizza ahead of time and have it ready in fifteen minutes once your guests showed up, as opposed to waiting forty-five minutes or more for delivery. Combine that with the delicious pies and easy-to-follow steps, not to mention how delicious your home will smell afterward, and you're all set for game night!
Montreal restaurant and bar reviews brought to you by two regular guys who like to eat and drink. We will go anywhere and we will say it like it is.