It looks to be an unassuming house oddly located on the busy main thoroughfare of Bridgeland. If you look a little closer however, you realize that the little house has a little sign that highlights a single word, Pimento’s. On second look, you realize that the building is not a house at all, but the last of the pre 1950′s commercial buildings that once dotted the landscape. You also realize that what once appeared to be a rundown hair salon is now the home of the vibrant Chef Mario.
Chef Mario is passionate to say the least. Ask him about Roma’s which is down the street, and he will tell you in a few colorful words what he thinks. And while Roma’s serves a pretty good New York style pizza (and Paninis and Donairs as well), it is completely different from the Napoleonic style pizza served at Pimento’s. Both are great in their own way, both are holes in the wall that someone might miss if they didn’t know what they were looking for, but Pimento’s is special for both its food and more importantly its owner.
Mario’s fine dining background makes him the happy equivalent of Seinfeld’s Soup Nazi. No, he probably won’t kick you out of the building for failing to abide by the rules, but he will make sure your pizza is as perfect as any New York soup could be. He might throw you out for showing up with Roma’s pizza, but that is a different story.
He will certainly entertain you while he hand tosses his legendary pizza dough. He will even shake your hand while he makes it, because after all, it is your pizza so it makes no differences if he touches you and then it. One thing he won’t do however, is take orders over the phone. Yes, part of the mystique of Pimento’s is you have to show up to place your order so that Mario can get to know you better. On second thought, maybe if he doesn’t like you he might turn into a formidable Pizza Nazi, but hat didn’t seem to be the case however, as regular after regular showed up to order and converse with the man behind the pizza cone.
If you won’t venture to Bridgeland, not to worry, Pimento’s might come to you. If you are having a party, he might book you in to have the Chef Mario Mobile pizza truck show up on your doorstep. Or, you can follow his tweets to see where he will be parked to serve pizza out of the truck. In fact, you can thank Chef Mario in part for the Calgary Food Truck scene. He not only helped to make it happen, but he has either built, or helped build, many of Calgary’s food trucks. He is the only food truck that existed long before food trucks became popular, he just existed in a way that didn’t draw attention to the fact that he probably shouldn’t have been cooking pizza out of a truck without a license.
Pimento’s is on our list of places you have to visit. Make sure you get the chance to engage Mario for the entertainment value alone. Oh, and put in a plug to bring the Street Burger back. We hear from many people that it was the best burger in the city. We would love to see it go head to head with the Alley Burger.