Mike Yaworski, owner and operating manager of Double D’s, has worked in the restaurant industry for over a decade. After years of research, he decided to open up something of his own in Toronto’s east-end. He knew that a traditional pizza joint could be fun but, in a city full of pizza places, he wanted to stand out.
“I didn’t want to do the traditional pizza. Everyone’s doing pizza [but] no one’s doing Chicago deep-dish pizza,” said Yaworski.
After spending some time in Chicago for a previous gig, he was inspired by the Windy City’s delicious deep dish.
“I spent a period of time in Chicago, and obviously when in Chicago you eat deep dish pizzas,” said Yaworski. “I never really thought back then going home I was going to open a Chicago deep dish pizza restaurant. That was kind of how it started, that’s where the idea kind of came from.”
He soon returned to Chicago to do some research for a potential restaurant of his own, accompanied by his executive chef Walt Medeiros.
“Walt and I, we went to Chicago, got a hotel room and lived there, and all we did was eat pizza.”
Their research resulted in establishing a very simple menu with three options: Chicago Classic (pepperoni, Italian sausage), Jalapeno Blue (blue cheese, Italian sausage, bacon, jalapenos), and Farmers Market (roasted red peppers, mushrooms, red onion, spinach). The menu also has a “build your own” option.
Double D’s pizzas are made fresh each morning with handmade dough and sauce and fresh ingredients. While the restaurant doesn’t open until noon, Chef Dee Maitland arrives every morning at around 6 a.m. to put the pizzas together.
Despite only undergoing a “slow open” and not yet having an official opening, Double D’s has experienced an influx of customers already and has easily become one of the most popular pizza spots in Toronto. In fact, Yaworski was not expecting the response he’s received so far. He chose the east end because it’s more affordable — rent is a lot cheaper for restaurant owners — and before he knew it, his restaurant was bringing in thousands of followers on social media and lineups out the door.
“I just wanted to be able to serve people two blocks that way, four blocks that way, and just try to make a simple, small living.”
When asked what he loved about Toronto, Yaworski explained that here he feels “safe and comfortable.”
“This is my home,I love my home” he said. “I just love where I was born.”