As home to thousands of students for eight months of each year, Antigonish has slowly but surely expanded its restaurant and food options over the years. With the opportunity to stay local or go the other route and pick a franchised fast food industry, Xaverians have many options, especially when it comes to late night snacks.
On Friday, February 24, owners and StFX alumni Greg and Lindsay Ross opened Pannizza’s doors, a pizza-pannini fusion chain on the corner of Main St and Hawthorne.
To say nothing of how charismatic the couple are, many members of the community, upon hearing about the opening of yet another pizza place were hesitant to believe that Pannizza would be offering anything new. However, Mr. Ross was quick to identify many distinctive features the new franchise offers.
After graduating in 2006, the Rosses lived in Alberta for a few years before jumping at the opportunity to return to Antigonish. With their unique insight and knowledge of the town’s workings, the two had a line out the door for the opening weekend. The first few days were so successful, that Mr. Ross disclosed that he had to put in an emergency order for supplies to be able to remain open on Saturday.
A nation-wide chain, Pannizza held the idea that it was possible to have exceptional and personalized food in 5-6 minutes. Once a guest is in the door, they can choose every aspect of their pizza, sandwich, etc. and have it baked in front of them and out the door before the six minutes are up.
Another exciting aspect is that Pannizza serves traditional poutine, which is great news especially for out-of-province students who are used to the cold cheese curds that only melt when hit with the piping hot gravy instead of the string or melted cheese that Atlantic Canada seems to hold dear.
A final point that many were excited about is that the franchise is proud to not deep-fry their products. All food items are baked, which eliminates excess grease and oil which certainly separates Pannizza from many of their fast food competitors.
With rumours circulating about the store staying even later to cater to the craving a slice or two, Pannizza can certainly expect a loyal customer base.
When asked about the reception from the community, Mr. Ross said, “I think the majority of people who are here at StFX are here for a reason… We come for an experience and that’s part of the reason [my wife and I] came back. It’s not just the school either…. I’ve been blessed by support from the town.”
On top of the successful first few weeks for Pannizza, a source who wished to remain unnamed has been able to confirm that a new Pita Pit will move onto James Street, taking over the now defunct M&M Meat Shops spot in the near future.
The franchise is also expected to be paired with a Gojis frozen yogurt restaurant according to the source, which will add to the already packed James St. fast food scene. The expected opening date for the new Pita Pit and Gojis remain unknown but has gained traction in support from the student body, as the new chains will provide variety to the town’s dominant pizza market.