Address: 260 St Mary Ave
“Hiding in plain sight” could have been coined for the new downtown location of Carbone, tucked on the main floor of a St. Mary Avenue office building. Its sleek façade is well- marked, but neon signs don’t beckon drivers-by from a distance.
The coal fired pizza darling of River Heights has doubled its brand undoubtedly to capitalize on the buzz of downtown, offering an expanded beer experience to wash all those cheesy pizzas down. Who can blame them? All those jets fans walking by, a few will surely have an appetite for pizza and beer before face off. The big-screens mounted above the tables ensure games in all time zones can be caught, a handy perk for power lunchers too.
Beer drinkers of North America can be thanked for this new surge of foam making its way to Peg city. With an increase of micro breweries and brewpubs sweeping two nations, Carbone “two” is among the first to hop on the hop wagon. This 45 seat restaurant boasts an equally sized lounge with high top tables containing beer spouts at the ready. These self-pour stations measure brews by the ounce, allowing diners to choose their tap and pay for as much as they drink.
The main draw is coal fired pizza, with its crispy, slightly charred crust. Within 3 short years, Carbone has introduced and seduced ‘za fans with its signature smokiness and a tight menu of fast casual favourites. The coal fire oven imbues a number of menu selections with this distinct flavour. Pizzas, paninis, chicken wings (fired and garnished with caramelized onions) and greens served up in shareable salad bowls are crowd pleasers now aimed at a motley mix of downtowners.
Trendy pizza toppings appear in signature combinations or can be ordered a la carte. Goat, feta, and ricotta cheeses outplay mozzarella, and arugula, artichoke and housemade turkey meatballs are “it” ingredients favoured by the nutritionally righteous. Combination “Isabella” layers red onion, arugula, artichoke and goat cheese. “Calabrese” combines salami, roasted red peppers, Kalamata olives and spicy eggplant. An optional gluten-free crust is available for all pies, revealing a smart business acumen at the root of all this Italian style.
Downtown has always been a draw for the well-heeled and cool kids, and new downtown upstarts will (thankfully) always be a magnet.