There’s this kind of phenomenon that happens in Ottawa in the spring, which bleeds into the summer months and hangs on until those first few chilly evenings in the fall.
If you’ve ever spent a winter in the capital (especially the last, particularly brutal, one), you know that the temperature plummets, the days are short, the storms are fierce and the mood dims for the entire duration of a season that seems to last forever.
That’s why, when the sun brightens, the snow melts and the weather warms, Ottawa is a place of bustling activity and vibrancy. Patios are full, nightclubs are packed, and streets come alive with a healthy mix of locals and tourists, all aiming to make the most of a contagious climate that can’t help but transform every soul in the city into an explorer in search of one thing: a good time.
The fact that there are not one, but two, Ottawa restaurant reviews gracing the front page of the ‘shell this week, is as good of an indication as any that pre-summer in the city has started, since wining and dining goes hand in hand with that itch to see and be seen.
Enter Slice & Co. one of Ottawa’s newest eateries, opening just in time to CAPITALize (pun, intended) on the fervor of the masses, and last night’s dining spot of choice for the Ottawa nuts (& Co.).
With Chef Warren Sutherland at the helm, known for The SmoQue Shack in Ottawa’a Byward Market (see nutshell review here), Slice & Co. is the newest restaurant to grace Elgin Street’s bustling collection of restaurants, pubs and clubs.
Offering guests creative variations of thick and thin crust pizzas – including traditional hand-tossed Italian, Brooklyn-style pan pizza, California and Chicago-style deep dish – and an array of mouthwatering sandwiches and Panini’s, Slice & Co. hopes to offer Elgin patrons a casual and fun dining experience, with great food and drinks as the driving force.
It wasn’t long into our own stay that we were pouring over the extensive and inventive cocktail list and drooling over the multiple pizza options.
After ordering a round of “Illsons” (we know the real “Illson”, so his namesake was an easy choice), that came in ever-so-trendy mason jars, we started making some menu selections.
Well, it’s safe to say that the moon hit our eyes and they became bigger than the big pizza pies, because we decided on not one, not two, but three pizzas for our party of four. An Italian-style 12″, the “Flambé” – featuring béchamel, olives and bacon, the “1424 Ave. J, Brooklyn” – a traditional pepperoni, that already has buzz as a “must-get”, and a Chicago-style “Veg” pizza.
Even though every choice was a hit, with each diner selecting a different pizza as a favourite, we were grateful that we had an unexpected fifth guest join us to help us polish off the larger than life pies.
Like every new restaurant, Slice & Co. is likely working out a few kinks, as our meal took longer than expected to arrive, but our wonderful server, Alli, kept us abreast of the situation and although our stomachs were grumbling, we unanimously felt it was worth the wait. With partner Sam Mcclintock sending us a round of shooters to wash down our meal, the small delay was quickly forgotten.
While we stuck to pizzas, I’ve heard from staff that the sandwiches are not to be overlooked, and will definitely be the subject of my next meal at Slice & Co. – which will likely take place in the near future.
I can’t see too much time passing between visits, not only because I am soon to be an Elgin St. resident, that my own place of work – St. Louis Bar & Grill – shares a patio with Slice & Co., or that it is one of the most talked about new locations in the city, but because our dining experience was delicious, relaxed and enjoyable.
As Kate mentioned earlier this week, any restaurant stay reflects the company you are with, and in this case, I had simply the best, but the cozy and rustic atmosphere, wonderful service and our own memorable meal unquestionably makes for a unique spot that will likely draw in just as many regulars as curious passers-by.
Competing with its across-the-street neighbour, Elgin St. Diner, for the after-bar industry crowd, Slice & Co. is currently only open in the evenings and late night (currently, until 4 a.m.). My only hope for this new and trendy spot, which already has the city abuzz and a line-out-the-door, is that it will come around for lunch-time hours, sooner than later, and capitalize on all the potential it has to offer as a new, and very welcome, Elgin St. staple.