Saucy Canadians take a stand on pineapple pizzas after Iceland's president anti-fruit comments

Iceland president Guoni Johanesson mildly offended Sam Panopoulos, the man credited with inventing the Hawaiian pizza, when he said pineapple should be banned as a pizza topping.

Windsor, Ont. pizza owner made two versions of his pineapple pies to challenge Iceland's president

Hawaiian pizza, pineapple pizza (El Nariz/Shutterstock)

A Canadian pizza shop owner has some saucy comments for Iceland's president Guðni Johanesson in a bid to change the leader's distaste for the sweet, yellow fruit.

Bob Abumeeiz of Arcata Pizza in Windsor, Ont. was shocked to read about the cheeky comments from Johanesson, who said pineapple should be banned as a pizza topping.

The comments became a tasty controversy that topped culinary headlines around the world this week, prompting some restaurant owners to send their own pies to Johanesson.

Bob Abumeeiz of Arcata Pizza in Windsor, Ont. joked about sending two of his Hawaiian-style pizzas to Icelandic president Guðni Johanesson, who said pineapple should be banned as a topping. (Nathan Swinn/CBC)

Abumeeiz prepped two versions of his pineapple pies and joked to CBC he should send them to Iceland as proof that pineapple belongs on pizza. The long-time cook has a lengthy list of pizza recipes that include pineapple, saying salty items like ham and bacon, or hot peppers help offset the sweetness.

"I don't think he's using pineapple the proper way," he said of the president. "If he uses it the proper way, he will be convinced pineapple goes with pizza."

Reaction to the president's comments prompted both pineapple pizza lovers and haters to express their passion on social media.

Hawaiian pizza inventor offended

Johannesson also mildly offended Sam Panopoulos, the man credited for inventing the Hawaiian pizza when he tossed on the sweet topping one night in his Chatham, Ont. restaurant back in the 1960s.

Panopoulos didn't mince words when responding to the Icelandic president's comments.

"He can have whatever he wants — I don't care," Panopoulos told CBC's As It Happens. "He can do whatever he wants as far as I'm concerned."

Panopoulos owned a restaurant in Chatham and first heard about pizza as the hot new menu item sliced its way across the border from Detroit into Windsor.

The now 82-year-old retired cook, who lives in London, visited Windsor and decided to try making pizza at his own restaurant.

That's when the Hawaiian pizza was born. Panopoulos threw some pineapples onto a pie and gave it a try. Though he was an instant fan, his customers were not immediately impressed.

"Nobody liked it at first, but after that, everybody went crazy over it," he said.

Hawaiian pizza lovers around the world launched humorous outcry to the comments, sending their own pies to Iceland.


  • An earlier version of this story stated that Bob Abumeeiz was going to send two pizzas to Iceland. In fact, Abumeeiz was joking when he said he was going to send the pizzas to Iceland to make a point about pineapple on pizza.
    Feb 23, 2017 2:22 PM ET