From the first Best of Food survey in 2002 to the tenth in 2011, Salvatore's Pizzaiolo Trattoria has created Halifax's pizza of choice.
This 2011 edition of the Best of Food poll is the 10th annual edition, so we checked the first Best of Food issue from 2002 to see which restaurants were voted the best both back in the day and today. Salvatore's is among the select group. Ten years ago, Coast food critic Jillian Brown talked to Salvatore's owner Chris Cuddihy to find out what makes the pizza so special, and she got a bit of history lesson. Cuddihy had worked as a cook for a couple years at Salvatore's original South Street location, opened by Garry Tanner and Salvatore Rinaldo in the late '80s (Sal Rinaldo passed away in 2005). “They spent months researching the best recipe before they opened," Cuddihy told Brown. “The recipe actually came from Sal's grandmother in New York. Sal had a great appreciation for the New York Italian-style pizza.”
After various ups and downs with leases and expansion plans that ultimately left Halifax without a Salvatore's, Chris resurrected the business, opening in the Hydrostone Market in 1994. “I got permission from Sal to keep the name and the recipe---it was a handshake agreement,” said Cuddihy. “My end of the deal was that I not alter the recipes. Sure, we've made some improvements and purchased new equipment, but we haven't altered the recipe.”
Cuddihy also had some advice for future Best of Food voters. “The best way to find out of place has the best pizza is to order it plain. You want to be able to taste the sauce, the cheese and the crust. You want to make sure the flavours are well balanced.” We can't know for sure if every reader approaches their voting with such rigour, but we can say without a doubt that Halifax continues to adore Salvatore's.
First Runner-up: Morris East
Second Runner-up: Tomavino’s Cellar Ristorante