Small town pizza

It seems to me that restaurant options in small towns across Manitoba usually look something like this:

  • Locally-run diner/bar
  • Chicken Chef
  • Subway
  • Chinese restaurant

(all of which smell like an old curling rink, except for Subway, which smells overwhelmingly like Subway)

When these are the only options, which is the case in many Manitoba towns, one of these places has to fill the pizza void. None of these establishments specialize in fine Italian food, but the pizza demand is real, so the local bar/restaurant usually makes it work.

Q: How do they make it work?

A: cracker crust


If you’ve ever eaten pizza in a small town, this photo likely looks familiar. It’s doesn’t taste bad; it’s just different – less authentic italian, and more flakey, crumbly crunch. I call it the cracker crust. Small town diners order frozen cracker crusts by the case to fill the pizza void.

Small town pizza has grown on me as a sort-of comfort food. On Friday evenings when I don’t feel like making supper, a loaded cracker crust pizza from the River Inn sure hits the spot!

It’s funny though, when you hear someone refer to small town cracker crust pizza as “good pizza,” especially when they’re not saying good in the sense that it’s yummy, junkie, comfort food. When someone thinks this type of pizza is good pizza, it leads me to believe it’s the only pizza they’ve ever had. For me, any big slab of carbs smothered in melted cheese is always going to be enjoyable, but that doesn’t mean it’s good pizza.

I’m sure there’s a small town out there somewhere with a great pizza restaurant. But for the majority of us, it’s cracker crusts for supper on Fridays.

Small town diners filling the pizza void with frozen cracker crusts – just another one of those small town things


Street Names

I don’t know if this is a small town thing or just a thing that some people, including me, do – referring to street names by the people who live on those streets or anything else that isn’t the actual name of the street.

Like this:

Nick’s street
Mel’s street
The Co-op street
The school street
The street by the dam

I didn’t know many of the actual street names in my hometown until long after I probably should have. I still don’t know some of them!

Growing up, we just made our own names based on particular landmarks, and those names stuck. Some of the names stuck even after the people who the streets were named after moved out of town – Kayla’s street is still Kayla’s street even though she hasn’t lived in La Salle for six years.

In recent years, I’ve learned that the street-names-based-on-landmarks system doesn’t always work, especially when giving directions to someone who isn’t familiar with your system. In this situation, I usually turn to the wonderful tool of street addresses and Google Maps.

This is a luxury that I didn’t have growing up, because I didn’t have a street address, or Google Maps for that matter. I grew up outside of town, and we didn’t have an easy address like 93 First Avenue; we had a land description with letters, numbers, and dashes. It didn’t work quite like an address…

Me: “Hey, want to come over and play?”

New friend: “Sure, where do you live?”

Me: “NW 29-8-2E”

New friend: “Oh… right… NW 29-8-2E… ”

This didn’t work, which is why relied on descriptions of physical landmarks like trees, fences, and big rocks instead of an address.

Like this:

Me: “Hey, want to come over and play?”

New friend: “Sure, where do you live?”

Me: “Go west past the Hall. There’s a really big rut in the road by the Mosowich’s place – keep going past that. Our driveway is on the north side of the road. There’s a long one with an curve at the end – that’s not ours. Keep going past it until you see the driveway lined with spruce trees. One row is tall, and the other is short. Go down that driveway. At the end, there will be two big rocks and the driveway splits in two. Turn into the yard with the goats, and you’re there. Easy.”

New friend: “Got it.”

Calling a street anything but its actual name – just another one of those small town things.