There’s a new eatery in the downtown core that’s serving up extra large pizzas, paired with a blast from the past.
sadboy pizza opened its doors Saturday (Oct. 14) at 51A Main Street South, inviting local residents to try its artisanal slices and whole pies while enjoying some classic pinball, movies on VHS, Blockbuster memorabilia and more.
“It’s like a ‘90s kid's dream bedroom. Parents who come in are nostalgic and the kids are mesmerized because they’ve never seen some of this stuff,” said owner Michael Racioppo, noting his goal was to blend all of his interests and hobbies into one place.
“Seeing that eight-year-old experience pinball for the first time or pick up a VHS tape - that’s the magic moment for me.”
The new locale has been a lengthy labour of love for Racioppo, who decided to take the leap and start his entrepreneurial journey during the pandemic.
“I kept thinking that when I retire from my day job in digital marketing and technology, I’ll have a pizza place and then I’ll be happy. But at some point in the pandemic, nothing else really mattered anymore, and I was like, why am I waiting to be happy?”
With people showing interest in the photos of his homemade pizzas he was sharing on Instagram, Racioppo decided to start looking into the ghost kitchen concept and ultimately did a pop-up stint at Uncorked on Main.
He then secured a permanent spot in the downtown core and got renovations underway, creating a space with a retro lounge and game area, along with an open kitchen concept.
It’s here that Racioppo makes the pizza magic happen, starting with dough crafted from two kinds of flour that’s fermented for three days. Almost everything is made at sadboy, from the traditional-style pizza sauce to the jalapenos that are pickled in-house.
“I describe it as a New York-style pizza, but done with Neapolitan disciplines and methods,” said Racioppo.
“My sauce is uncooked - that’s what you would find in an Italian-style pizza, so it’s got a really nice, fresh tomato flavour. We also use a blend of multiple cheeses that we grate in-house.”
And while many places have shrunk the size of their pizzas in recent times, Racioppo is once again kicking it old school with his 18-inch-wide pies.
So where does the unique sadboy name come from?
Racioppo said its meaning is twofold - it gives a nod to his roots as a touring musician with emo, punk and pop bands, and also his mental health journey during the pandemic.
So it’s only fitting that 10 per cent of sadboy’s profits will be evenly split between the Canadian Mental Health Association and the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health.
For now, sadboy pizza will be open on Saturdays for dinner, with pizzas prepared on a pre-order basis. Plans are in the works to increase the shop's operating days going forward.