Wood-fired Ovens Make Some of Thunder Bay's Best Pizza

The firebrick oven specially designed for baking pizza is one of the key ingredients.

Derek Lucchese grew a strong following selling his bread and pizza at the Thunder Bay Country Market for twelve years. His new business at the location that used to be Sheer Heaven, a hairdresser’s, at the corner of Algoma and Park St. is going gangbusters as a successful pizza joint called Both Hands. Pizza lovers of all ages have made Both Hands their alternative for home-made pizza; they also do take-out.

both hands exterior

Derek and his young gang of employees make signature pizzas using a hybrid of our North American taste for sour dough with the thin crust style of traditional Italian pizza. They make simple food sourced from as much locally produced foods as possible. The bread and toppings are made preservative free by going directly to the ingredient’s producers. The all-important cheese base is made of gouda and mozzarella from the Thunder Oak Cheese Farm. Flour for the crust comes from Brule Creek Farms, and toppings from DeBruin’s Greenhouses and Mile Hill Farms.

Related: It's all about the Cheese at Thunder Oak Cheese Farm

both hands family served

For now, until they begin making their own signature pizzas, the pizzas are of your own making, with a choice of 11 inch or 16 inch, and then a variety of standard and spicier choices.

both hands pizza served 220

The oven, chairs, and tasteful wood interior decoration make the smaller space of Both Hands a casual, yet elegant restaurant, just offbeat enough to be hip. With a five-foot diameter dome oven made of firebrick, specially designed for baking pizza, Both Hands also uses the oven after hours for baking quality bread. Equally impressive are Derek’s own hand-made poplar and birch chairs; giving the restaurant space it’s offbeat look.   

both hands pizza oven

The bread baked in their oven is mostly sour dough, made with a thin and chewy crust that keeps the moisture in. The breads have wonderful names like Hedgehog, Spelt and Flax, and Peasant.

About Duncan Weller

A writer and visual artist, Duncan Weller is a Governor General's Award winner who lives in Thunder Bay. You can visit his website at www.duncanweller.com. His latest two books are a novel, Flight of the Silk, and an expanded edition of the award-winning children's picture book, The Boy from the Sun.

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