As per the evident four year-or-so turnover for K-W’s restaurant and nightlife scene, this month we welcome Urban Bricks Pizza, which now stands in place of the forgettable Heaven Gastro Club on University Ave.
Walking inside the pizza joint, the affluence that the American chain was bringing to compete with existing pizzerias was evident. The inside was equipped with a fancy hand washing station, which I feared was going to take my hands right off, endless varieties of pop, quite the arrangement of quirky bathroom posters and a state of the art pizza oven.
“We serve a Neapolitan thin crust pizza and we do everything fresh in-house,” said Abe Ibrahim, master franchisee of the GTA and beyond.
As the first Canadian location for the restaurant chain, Waterloo is definitely a unique city to choose.
“[With a] lot of international students from around the world, the location is sort of the Silicon Valley of Canada,” said Ibrahim.
An exception to how things will be run, the owners allowed media behind the counter and let us make our own Neapolitan pizzas. With variations that they’ve created and the option to build your own, being at the helm of my lunch was both exciting and intimidating.
“You build your own pizza: one size; one price; unlimited toppings,” said Ibrahim.
[With a] lot of international students from around the world, the location is sort of the Silicon Valley of Canada
-Abe Ibrahim, master franchisee of the GTA and beyond
After gloving up, I chose to go with a flatbread and white sauce based pizza with green peppers, pepperoni, chicken and a BBQ sauce drizzle — you may say I played it safe but don’t worry, I finished the crust with a garlic bread topping.
Popped in their self-proclaimed “Bad @$$ Oven,” which has a 14 pizza capacity, my pizza was cooked in just two short rotations. With an outdoor patio currently under works and a rollup window where you can enjoy cold beer on a hot summer’s day, I can definitely see this being a hotspot for students in the warmer months.
“We are really fast; we have a location in San Antonio with drive thru pizza [sic],” said Ibrahim.
As if my own pizza wasn’t enough, out came a few dessert pizzas — my personal favourite being the Nutella banana pie. Despite the slim turnout for the media lunch, that just meant more dessert for me.
The décor inside, predominantly industrial with accents of bright green, contribute to the brand’s message of ensuring that fresh ingredients are being used in their food while promoting a very chic and fast paced service layout.
The atmosphere inside felt like that of an inner city subway, but in the cleanest way possible.
The restaurant makes accommodations for those with dietary restrictions and employees are very understanding of customers requiring meals to remain halal and gluten-friendly.
It’ll be interesting to see if Urban Bricks has a longer shelf-life than the past inhabitants of the space, such as Heaven Gastro Club or McGinnis Front Row, on University Ave.