No Hand-Tossed Dough: Tony’s Pizza Palace

After visiting the new Alberta Avenue farmers’ market, and prior to the artsScene Edmonton launch party, we stopped in at Tony’s Pizza Palace for dinner. One of my coworkers raved about Tony’s after lunch there some time ago, primarily because she could see the chefs hand-toss the dough like in the movies. As a result, I was most looking forward to this aspect of our dining experience.

Based on our initial assessment of the older stucco building, Tony’s seemed to be a family-friendly, neighbourhood pizza place. When we walked in, the décor seemed to match our judgment – dated, but comfortable, with wooden fixtures, clunky chairs and at the back, an open window into the kitchen, where we saw six busy hands and a huge oven behind them.

With the laid-back interior, we were surprised to find that the servers were dressed to the nines. The waiters all had crisp white shirts, black vests, and ties – a major disconnect with their surroundings and the patrons, who for the most part were rocking jeans or casual slacks. Though their service was friendly and efficient, I had to wonder if management confused the desired atmosphere of Tony’s with that of an upscale French bistro.

Interior

At any rate, once settled with our drinks, we perused the menu. We ignored the entrees and pasta dishes and headed straight for their namesake dishes. The “specials” (topping combinations pre-selected without room for substitution) were quite expensive (ranging from $14.25-$21.50), at least when compared with the price to customize our own pizza.

We asked our server how large the medium was, and at 12’’, decided that Mack was hungry enough to warrant ordering two of them, knowing that any leftovers would make a welcome brown bag lunch. I decided on the classic margherita pizza ($14.25 for medium), though tomatoes were absent, while Mack customized a medium pizza with Italian sausage, pepperoni and mushrooms ($15.25 for three toppings). Unfortunately, basil wasn’t a topping option, so I could not have customized my own margherita.

While awaiting our meal, I anxiously watched the kitchen window and waited for the dough-tossing to begin. Unfortunately, my patience went unrewarded, and we did not see a single toss over the course of our evening. We should have asked if they had changed their policy, but our food was delivered shortly and I neglected to do so.

The pizzas were indeed generously-sized, molded perfectly to fit circular pan underneath. Mack noted the crust – not at all greasy and thin but sturdy – he was able to pick up a slice to be eaten without utensils. He much preferred this to its Neapolitan sibling – the chewy, and airy type propagated by Famoso, while I disagreed. The margherita, with its very basic cheese and basil topping, let the crust shine. Mack’s custom pizza, on the other hand, was loaded with meat and mushrooms, and despite the less-than-crispy pepperoni, he enjoyed it. I should also note that the sauce was not overpowering – sometimes a heavy hand is used to distribute the base, but these pizzas had just the right amount of sauce.

Margherita Pizza

Three-topping PIzza with Sausage, Pepperoni and Mushrooms

The isolated location of Tony’s would prevent it from becoming a regular haunt for me, particularly when the downtown location of Famoso, with their lovely charred and chewy crust, is so much more central. But I was happy to have tried it, even without the free pizza tossing entertainment.

Tony’s Pizza Palace
9605 111 Avenue NW
(780) 424-8777
Lunch: Monday-Friday 11:30am-2:30pm; Dinner: Monday-Thursday 4:30-10pm, Friday 4:30pm-midnight, Saturday 2:30pm-midnight, Sunday 4:30-10:30pm

7 thoughts on “No Hand-Tossed Dough: Tony’s Pizza Palace

  1. “… the patrons, who for the most part were rocking jeans or casual slacks.”

    (laugh) I don’t know if this is something recent, or if it’s always been this way, but customers rarely get dressed up for dinners out it seems. Recently on a very special dinner out to Ruth’s Chris, I told my hubby who always frets about not dressing nicely enough for a special occasions – “It’s Alberta, someone will always be dressed worse than you.” and lo and behold, a table full of people wearing jeans and sweatshirts (with wolves on them no less!) were seated beside us. QED.

  2. egirl: sign o’ the times all over! In two recent trips to Vegas I stopped in at very high end restaurants which required jackets from the men (something I was reminded of many times during reservation placing via the phone and on websites), I saw some gentlemen wearing no jackets and jeans or slacks and…gasp…Hawaiian shirts. Not sure if this is a bit of a wimpy move by the hostess willing to turn away diners paying $400 for dinner in this economy or just Vegas being Vegas. Yikes.

  3. While I think it is a part of the increasing trend of “going casual”, I do think where you are plays a part.

    A restaurant called Proof we recently went to in DC (touted as casual on their Open Table page) was filled with the after-work business crowd, meaning that almost everyone was wearing as suit jacket. We found that dining on a weekday in the business districts meant we were the least dressed up of all customers.

  4. This phenomenon is not limited to Edmonton. On a recent trip to NYC we ate at Cafe Boulud and Del Posto (one of Batali’s restaurants). At Boulud, I made sure to wear slacks and a dress shirt, while at Posto it was a jacket and tie. In both cases, three seconds of scanning the room identified men more shabbily-dressed: jeans, even patterned shorts.
    BTW, you missed the best part of Tony’s: the pretzel. a ribbon of pizza dough coiled up and baked in a deep dish pan, coated with garlic and anchovies. Excellent with beer, even better cold the next morning.

  5. That pretzel sounds good – we walked by many a pretzel vendor in DC…I’ll have to indulge at home one of these days!

  6. They renovated, looks alot better now, servers are awesome, I know almost all by heart, because I go every week at least.

  7. I also go once a week. I really enjoy the new look, however the booths can be uncomfortable,
    I know almost every one there also.
    Love this place.

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