Introducing: North of Brooklyn, a new thin-crust, by-the-slice pizzeria on Queen West
Blink as you’re walking by, and you’ll probably miss one of Toronto’s newest pizza spots: North of Brooklyn, a tiny 12-seat restaurant tucked around the corner behind Hero Certified Burgers at Queen and Palmerston. Inspired by Brooklyn’s obsessive passion for pizza (exemplified by places like Best Pizza, South Brooklyn Pizza and Di Fara Pizza), Josh Spatz and Alex Potter (Pizzeria Libretto) wanted to bring that same high-quality, thin-crust pizza to a casual, grab-’n’-go setting—so they partnered with Best Pizza’s Frank Pinello. Torontonians have typically had to choose between whole-pie artisanal pizza and slices from the chains that have been sitting out for hours; North of Brooklyn is combining the two, with thin-crust pizzas made throughout the day (with just five on the go at any time) and sold by the slice.
In the kitchen are Potter and Chris Getchell, also previously of Pizzeria Libretto, who make and hand-stretch the dough until it’s good and thin. On the menu are five signature pizzas including margherita ($3.90 per slice, $18 for one 18-inch pizza), pepperoni ($4.20 per slice, $20 per pizza) and white ($4.40 per slice, $22 per pizza) with arugula, garlic ricotta, mozzarella and pecorino. Aside from pizza, there’s a seasonal arugula salad ($6) and garlic knots ($2.50 for four), a signature adopted from Best Pizza: proofed pizza dough that’s been tied into knots, cooked with olive oil, garlic, thyme and topped with cheese. For dessert: there’s a sweet-savoury cookie ($2) made of pretzels, chips, popcorn, chocolate and butterscotch chips.
The space, once occupied by the peripatetic Kensington Market Organic Ice Cream, was renovated with the help from friend David Dworkind, but remains relatively rustic (without too much barn board) with original floors, checker plate metal on the walls, bare light bulbs hanging from the ceiling and dark stools for seating. Old photos of Brooklyn pizza shops hang on the walls, including, naturally, one of Pinello’s Best Pizza. Outside, the brick wall boasts a large vintage-glam North of Brooklyn Pizzeria sign that lights up at night. The liquor license application is in, and there are plans to serve craft beer, wine and the usual Brios and San Pellegrino sodas.