Coco Brooks (NE Location) – Calgary, AB
2020 32 Avenue NE
I was chatting with a friend online last night, lamenting the fact I was hungry. An apple, an apple pear, and a bowl of leftover soup didnt really cut it for me. Her first suggestion? Pizza! Not what i needed to hear at 1:30 in the morning. Unable to get the idea of pizza out of my head, I had several discussions about pizza today – and how it gets a bad rap. Pizza isn’t actually inherently bad – if you look at it objectively, it’s actually a fairly reasonable balance of carbs, protein, fat, and veg. Yes the sodium is high, and many pizzas can have too much fat. The biggest problem I find with pizza is consumption – where one or two pieces would be a reasonably balanced meal, most people inevitably eat more because it’s so darn tasty. I myself have a difficult time stopping at four, and an entire 12″ pizza to myself is not out of the question. The solution of course is to order smaller pizzas. But the value isnt there to order 8″ – and who’s going to turn down the second one free!?
Enter Coco Brooks – branding themselves as a “people company serving pizza”, they are an interesting Calgary-based company with a social conscience. They sell pizza in three forms: Fresh, take and bake, and frozen. They only sell personal sized pizzas – 8″, that vary in price (fresh) from $4.62 – $6.99. Calzones, pastas and a variety of other goods round out the extensive menu.
First off, the pizza. I have to admit, their unique approach to pizza really has me a convert. While i appreciate the different traditional styles of pizza available (Neapolitan, NY Style, Greek, Chicago, etc..), sometimes, pizza is just good without any style. Put some good cheese, toppings, sauce, on a decent crust, and I’m a happy camper. They serve a perfect individual size, with great quality toppings and a fantastic value. Fresh baked, the crust is a touch greasy, but a nice light and crisp exterior with a bit of doughy bite. The toppings are varied, and there really is something for everyone. Lots of creative choices like egg and bacon, banana bread pizza, hot wing pizza, and many others, both standard, and eclectic. My standby is the Big Al’s: sun ripened tomato sauce, lean beef, black forest ham italian sausage, pepperoni, and mozzarella.
The heart: boxes and packaging are made of recycled materials, they donate money to fundraising efforts and to charity, they write thoughts, stories, and positive sayings all over the box. While some stories have a religious slant to them, it’s not preachy. Really just positive affirmation. While im not exactly a positive affirmation kind of guy, I kind of like the stories. Couldnt really tell you why, but i do.
In a world where people continually chase the next great food experience, or the pinnacle of creativity and inspiration expressed in food, sometimes it’s good to remember that good food, like people, comes in all kinds of shapes, sizes, and personalities. While we can continue to debate the merits of Neapolitan versus NY versus Chicago versus Greek-style pizza, Coco Brooks will continue to make a good, solid, affordable pizza. One that will please your tastebuds, wallet, and your waistline. And that should be enough to please even the most ardent foodie.