The plan was to go home and have leftovers for lunch, but LJ and I were still out running errands and had more to do and we decided to stop somewhere and get something instead. Neither of us were feeling anything in particular. I came up with a list of places nearby and we narrowed it down to one place: Colonnade Pizza.
Here is the thing; I don't like Colonnade Pizza pizza. It's one of my wife's favourite pizza's in the city. There are 6 locations around the city and neighbouring towns, and they have been around from 1967. It's very popular here and it, I believe is what started the trend that is Ottawa-style pizza.
I have nothing against Colonnade Pizza as a business - in fact I give them kudos. Started by a Lebanese immigrant Kalil Dahdouh, he built pizza in this city. I just don't like this type of pizza. Some call it Ottawa style, others Lebanese style or Beirut style. People here go crazy for it and I understand for them why. Thick chewy crust, sauce, toppings and then cheese. Like a brick of cheese. It's a hearty pizza. I just prefer a) my toppings on top so they crispy up and aren't soggy underneath b) a thinner crust and c) less cheese (which I wouldn't normally say but in these cases I do). I just prefer NY style more so.
So why did we go? Well as I mentioned my wife likes it, and I thought this was a great chance to try the wings. We were at the Carling or West Eng location, and on a weekend for lunch it was pretty quiet. The place was clean and gives a family/diner kind of atmosphere.
Our first waitress was friendly. LJ was looking at the pizza's and wondered about if she got the Pizzaburger (ground beef, mushrooms and green peppers) could she get hot peppers instead of green. The waitress pointed out that it stated on the menu that there was a charge to do so, taking the price from $9.99 to over $10 for a personal pizza. But the waitress pointed out you could make your own plain pizza for $6.95 and add 3 toppings at $1 each, bringing it to $9.95. She was kind of surprised by that price magic, but in the end LJ stuck with the pizza as described.
While LJ was ordering pizza, I was checking out the wings. Our waitress mentioned they were just deep fried (no breading or anything special) and that the flavours were mild, medium, hot, honey garlic and BBQ. She asked if I wanted them sauce or on the side - I said sauced, they eventually came sauce on the side. That's ok though. I also got some onion rings for us to share. Then our waitress bounced (end of her shift) and we got a new waitress. It didn't take long for our food to come out.
This was the Pizza Burger. Again, this is not a pizza for me. That cheese (a special cheese they have brought in) just blankets all the toppings. You can see the green pepper and the mushroom sort of. The ground beef was there, but very tiny granules (I think we both thought they would be kinda big clumps but think of ground beef crumbled to the smallest crumbles you'd find in an Italian meat sauce). It was everything that Ottawa pizza is supposed to be and LJ felt quite full eating the roughly 7 inch pie.
The wings came out looking very crispy, and the side of onion rings were quite large.
These were large rings, in a very puffy batter. They looked crispy, and they kind of were, but they were also soft and soggy, like the oil got into them instead of cooking them outside. I just wanted them to be less puffy and more crispy. Would the wings be crispy?
The wings only come in one size: 10 wings for $11.99. I wasn't crazy about that price.
The wings were, *sigh*, small. Not the smallest I've ever seen but small. They were a medium meatiness in relative size to the small wings.
These wings were crispy, I have to give them that. The skin was as crisp as plain wings can be fried. They were just short of being over cooked, which meant the meat wasn't as tender inside as they could have been.
As I mentioned above, I was given the option of sauced or sauce on the side, and I chose sauced, and they came sauce on the side (which is ok because I would rather this than wanting it on the side and it coming sauced). The sauce was Frank's Red Hot just straight up in a cup. I edged the heat factor slightly by adding chili flakes found on the table. Simple and tasty enough.
The West End Colonnade Pizza had friendly service and a clean and simple atmosphere. LJ's pizza was what she wanted and expected - it may not be my thing, but the city loves this pizza. I'd ask for the onion rings to be crispier next time - I feel this was a one-off mistake. The wings were ok - small, but fried well. At this price point and size, I wouldn't bother with them again - they are basically take-out wings being served in house. 5.5/15
Colonnade Pizza (West End location)
2140 Carling Ave, Ottawa ON