Woodenhead’s Gourmet Pizza (Kingston) – Simply wow!

This is the best meal I’ve had in Kingston yet. On the day before my call, I decided to grab a nice meal to remind myself of why I do this. I went out with a few of the first years and we grabbed a few beers and some pizzas at Woodenhead’s.

Here is a hint: don’t ever sit inside. The wood burning fire is simply too hot. On a humid day in Kingston, I wanted to die inside. I had a Big Rock Grasshopper to cool off but it just wasn’t enough. We asked to be seated outside and eventually, as tables left, we were able to move outside.

The first pizza we tried was the Nonna Mela for $14.80. It may be an acquired taste for some. Essentially, it is made of apple butter, roast garlic, cheddar, sweet onions, and blackened chicken. The apple butter really made it savoury-sweet, which I love. But this is the exact reason why it might be an acquired taste for some. The crust was light without being too crispy. The chicken breast tasted realistic, not foamy. I really enjoyed this dish a great deal. I particularly enjoyed where the apple butter was glazed over the crust so that it tasted like apple toast!

The next pizza was the Pazzo for $12.55. Essentially, it is made of tomato sauce, blue cheese, grilled red onion, and blackened chicken. This was really unique. I’ve never had blue cheese on a pizza. It stood on its own, without the back up of mozzarella. The blackened chicken was a carry over from the Nonna Mela but once again, it wasn’t dry, wasn’t foamy, and was actually quite tasty. This was another really unique pizza but may be an acquired taste for some because of the blue cheese. I also noted that the tomato sauce on this pizza was rather pasty. It seemed like it came out of a can.

Our final pizza was the Monet for $15.15. Essentially, it was made of tomato sauce, chipotle salsa, mozzarella, salami Calabrese, and feta. The feta was a bit of a strange mix with the mozzarella. The salami Calabrese was nicely spicy, especially when combined with the chipotle salsa. The pizza was a bit wet so it was difficult to eat. Once again, the tomato sauce seemed very pasty.

Each pizza wasn’t particularly large (12-14” or so) but they were really well priced. I look forward to trying each and every flavour! The crusts were thin without being too crispy or burnt. The toppings were plentiful and flavourful. The ingredients were fresh. My only complaint: some pizzas also have really rather poor quality tomato sauce. But this shortcoming is negligible compared to the inventiveness and value of the pizzas.

Addendum 2008:

Since this last post, I’ve been to Woodenhead’s 3 more times. These are a few new pizzas I tried out.

This is the Louisianna (mushroom veloute, smoked cheese, blackened chicken, banana chili and black olives). The smokiness was a bit underwhelming and the blackened chicken a touch salty. A somewhat unremarkable pizza but quite costly at $15.45.

We had a girl with us when we chose this pizza. It would not have been a typical choice from me. This is the Arbre Amore (tomato sauce, sundried tomatoes, mozzarella, marinated mushrooms, artichoke) for $12.25. Again, a bit underwhelming a pizza in terms of zest and flavour. The artichokes were a touch sour and overpowered the rest of thepizza. The marinated mushrooms were reminiscent of canned mushrooms. I wouldn’t get this pizza again.

I love the crust at Woodenhead’s but I am a bit tired of their blackened chicken. It is in a lot of their pizzas. The toppings are also somewhat bland in comparison to Atomica (which I will review later). Between the two… I am torn. Atomica has better toppings and more inventive pizzas (except for the Nona Mela which I adore from Woodenhead’s). However, Woodenhead’s has better crusts, thicker, crisp without being dry, fantastic. I will still likely go to both as I am indecisive.

Addendum: June 1, 2009

Visited Woodenhead’s again for my anniversary with J. Not particularly glamorous but we didn’t have a lot of time as we were both busy at work. Let me just reiterate that Woodenhead’s is a really really great find in Kingston. We had the Nonna Mela again and it is simply fabulous. Apple butter is a regional thing special to Eastern Ontario (so I hear on Chowhound). Honestly, there aren’t a lot of places that I fully recommend in Kingston but this is one of them.

IMG_8759Another pic of the Nonna Mela.

Addendum March 2011:

As I am leaving Kingston eminently, I decided to revisit all my favourite restaurants for one last hurrah! We had a close friend L come and visit us for a night in March and I thought it would be perfect to grab drinks and food at Woodenhead’s before we move back to Calgary.

I never realized this before but the drinks at Woodenhead’s are amazing. This is the nickerbocker (Bailey’s and espresso), the Peter Sellers (Vodka, Chambord, pineapple juice, fresh grapefruit juice), and the Caesar Romeo (The “Cadillac” of Caesars). Each was made well, not too sweet, not too alcoholic, and made with fresh ingredients. I definitely wish that I had spent more time drinking here!

These are the braised ribs that we had as an appetizer. So delicious. A lot of meat that was seasoned and tender. A lovely sweet and salty marinade. The little rice balls underneath were interesting but I would’ve preferred a different starch. They were a bit mushy. Why not just plain ol’ potatoes?

This is my dream pizza, the Nonna Mela (apple butter, roast garlic, cheddar, sweet onions, blackened chicken) for $14.80. I have taken so many photos of this pizza (you can see two more photos above in this post) because I always order it! It is sweet, salty, savoury, and just really really satisfying. I will really miss having this pizza in Calgary. Do not miss out on this pizza when you go to Woodenhead’s.

This is the Arrabbiata (superdynamite, pomodoro sauce, mozzarrella, calabrese salami, banana peppers) for $13.75. This really hit the spot for me. The crust was crispy and light, The salami was salty and spicy and the banana peppers really added a lot of punch and sourness to each bite. I loved this pizza. It was a really nice counterpoint to the Nonna Mela which J finds a bit on the sweet side.

This is the Giovane (tomato sauce, smoked mozzarella, pepperoni) for $8.80. A really simple pizza but it was made really well. Nice smooth and salty cheese with some delicious pepperoni. It was really cheesssssssy. If you ever want to get your “night cheese” on as J often does, definitely get this pizza and eat it at night.

This is the strawberry chocolate lasagna with layers of pastry with chocolate mousse sandwiched between. A great and interesting way to end the meal. I would come to Woodenhead’s just for this dessert. It seems like I am a raving lunatic when it comes to Woodenhead’s praises but I honestly have to say that there are very few things that they don’t do well. Even their drinks are good. I am so sad that I only realized that on my last visit to Woodenhead’s before moving to Calgary!!! FML.

Woodenheads Gourmet Pizza, 192 Ontario St., Kingston, www.woodenheads.com

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~ by Russ on July 14, 2008.

8 Responses to “Woodenhead’s Gourmet Pizza (Kingston) – Simply wow!”

  1. The Nonna Mela was what I ordered the first time I ever went to Woodenheads and I find it quite difficult to order something else despite the fact that it has been three years since my first visit. Tomorrow I am meeting friends there for dinner and it is quite likely that once again, I will not be able resist the uniqueness of the Nonna Mela!

  2. agreed!

  3. You need to try the Dynamo. Do me a favour and get it the next time you’re there, you won’t be disappointed.

  4. The Dynamo is my favourite at Wooden Heads. I am not sure who has said that Apple Butter is an Eastern Ontario only regional dish but, they are poorly informed about that. I have lived all over North America and when I lived in the deep south, most all the grandmother’s there had Apple Butter as one of their long time staples in the kitchen. Traditional local recipes for AP abound. I believe the German bakers were the first to make this butter in North America.

    I have found that Canada in general when it comes to food often claims dishes as their own without the documentation of such claims at all.

    I too am torn between Atomica and Wooden Heads. The best pizza I ever had was at Lombardy in New York City. I’d say you are spot on with your assessment. The crust at Wooden Heads is better than Atomica but, the toppings at Atomica truly trump Wooden Heads in freshness and innovation. My favourite pizza at Atomica is their namesake the “Atomica” If they would improve the crust it would be pizza heaven!

    • Hmm, this is the second recommendation I have received for the Dynamo. I will definitely check it out soon, especially since I live so close by. Regarding the Apple Butter origin, I found the comment on Chowhound and even they could not cite their source. Consider it respectfully withdrawn.

      I’ll be sure to check out Lombardy when I go to NYC again. Have you been to Sal and Carmine’s? It has a lot of buzz on chow and I really liked it when I was there.

      Leaning towards giving the crown to Woodenhead’s these days. The Atomica crust is just really brutally crispy. It cuts my mouth!

  5. Well, I adore going to New York and I am a pizza fiend. So YES! I’ve been to Sal and Carmine’s. I am lucky enough to have a dear friend who lives there, grew up there so I can go more often. Bonus, he is Italian and takes me to the “insider” places only New Yorkers know. Alas, I do not have the income to move to Manhattan. I’m happy to go often and eat very, very well while I’m there. The only negative is *and I was warned* I’ve never been totally thrilled with pizza anywhere else since first having it there.

    I am taking off to Wooden Heads tonight for my birthday and am looking forward to trying a new pizza combo this time.

    I also will comment later on one of the burgers you wrote about at Harpers. Your review prompted me to eat there that night and order it.

    I do wish I’d known about this blog before you left us for Calgary. I love trying new foods and am on a creole jag at the moment. Something sorely lacking here. It would have been nice to keep up with your local suggestions before you left! I’m playing catch up now.

    • Check out my top 10. They are “relatively” current, with my last visits in June 2011. Things change of course and 6 months is an eternity in the food world… but some things don’t change.

  6. Gee, I guess my comment was submitted with fB profile. The above was submitted by RA.

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