Windsor's Arcata Pizzeria donates patriotic pies to Downtown Mission
Each slab of pizza was almost too heavy to put in the oven, owner explains
The owner of a popular Windsor pizzeria has turned Canada's 150th birthday into a way to give back to the community — by whipping up a few patriotic pies for a downtown homeless shelter.
Bob Abumeeiz spent weeks ruminating about how he would shape his massive pizzas into the form of the country's flag.
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"Last night I didn't sleep thinking about this project," said Abumeeiz, who owns Arcata Pizzeria on Dougall Avenue. "Lowering them in the oven was the hardest part."
In the end, he came up with a recipe that captured the symmetrical flag with its 11-point maple leaf and bright red borders. To maintain the colour as best he could, Abumeeiz used red food colouring for the dough, topped off with a layer of red peppers.
"Then came the shape of the flag, and how big of a pizza could fit in the oven," Abumeeiz said. "A lot of planning."
With the donation going to the Downtown Mission, which feeds more than 200 people every day, he knew he had plenty of stomachs to fill — so, the bigger the pie the better.
A food donation, like the four massive patriotic pizzas, allow soup kitchen managers to spend less on supplies and more on programs and services, said Racquele Smith, who works at the shelter on Victoria Avenue.
"Not only does this warm our hearts, but it's going to warm the stomachs of so many people who need it, especially during the holiday season," Smith said. "With this food here, we are able to welcome more people through our doors."
Abumeeiz is as patriotic as they come when celebrating Canada's birthday. He arrived here from Libya as an exchange student in 1981 and decided to stay.
"I've been all over the world and seen a lot. This is the best country in the world," he said. "You work hard, prosper — it's the best place to be."
Giving back to the community is an important component of celebrating his success, even if it's one enormous pizza at a time.