A pizza joint of a different stripe

A pizza joint of a different stripe

I’ve been passing the place on Madison Avenue at Charles Street — Stripes Pizza — for a couple of years now. It’s never looked open, so I wasn’t really sure what it was except that with the board-and-batten construction of part of the building, I got the name. I think.

Stopping in one day, it turns out that Stripes is a tiny take-away counter for pizza slices, and not much more. It has seating for, let’s say, four. In that format, they serve,primarily Cameron Heights Collegiate students, the school being a pepperoni-chub’s throw away. The place has limited hours, according to the pizzaiolo and owner I spoke with. I don’t even know his name.

As for the pizza, I would say it is the industry standard for cheapza pizza by the slice. Fairly thin crust (dough made onsite), decent enough sauce and the standard pepperoni for a fairly big slice, which I don’t think is more than $3. (I always ask him to toss the slice back in the oven to crisp it up a bit.) The slices sit on one of those circular wire racks. A five-topping pie for delivery is about $18.

I said above that the place was “not much more,” but it is: Stripes Pizza is an interesting business because, as the owner explained it to me, he only opens when it warrants it. Given the costs of supplies, heating and cooling the building, rent or mortgage or whatever, he was serving basically only students; that is, until he saw how a technology disruptor that we all know could make it worth his while to do more business.

Stripes doesn’t have a website (it does have a Facebook page), but it is connected to Skip the Dishes. The app has in fact allowed Stripes to open for business as a delivery joint, according to the owner. He likely won’t be open for walk-up customers, but for the crowded residential neighbourhoods of downtown Kitchener — with more residences being built virtually in his front yard — he says he gets lots of calls for pizza. So it’s open just for delivery most of the time in the evening. With more people living in the area soon, he could do well.

It’s just interesting to note how delivery services are changing the retail and restaurant landscape, especially for very small businesses.

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