By Sheliza Mitha
It is precisely because Coquitlam’s Austin Heights neighbourhood is abundant with deliciously satisfying pizza joints – from locally-owned places to well-known chains – that makes it difficult to choose where to get your next slice.
At one end of Austin Street sits Me-N-Ed’s, a true Coquitlam institution. Over the past four decades, Me-N-Ed’s has garnered its fair share of fans, including home-grown celebrities such as Michael J. Fox. In fact, the five Me-N-Ed’s locations throughout the Lower Mainland regularly host charity golf tournaments to raise funds for both the Parkinson’s Society of BC and the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s.
During a recent visit to Coquitlam, I stopped by Me-N-Ed’s to sample some of their best-known specialty pizzas: Greek (vegetarian), Smoked Salmon & Roasted Garlic and Thai Chicken. What Me-N-Ed’s might be best known for, however, is their uniquely thin, crunchy, wafer-like crust.
Topped with an array of freshly-cut veggies (think tomatoes, bell peppers, onions, etc.) and creamy feta cheese, the Greek was a delightful way to start to my own personal pizza buffet.
Next up was the Smoked Salmon & Roasted Garlic. Though I love both smoked salmon and pizza, I would never have thought to couple these two. I expected the salmon to overpower the other flavours, but not only was this not the case – it was actually a perfect match that made for a unique and, in many ways, typical West Coast experience. The feta and roasted garlic added an unexpected richness, which was only enhanced by the smoky salmon. (Next time, I’m getting a larger pie.)
The Thai Chicken also delivered an unexpected flavour combination and texture with the pairing of crunchy noodles, creamy peanut sauce and sweetened veggies – all of which offered a one-of-a-kind Thailand-meets-Italy experience.
But, of course, with some half-dozen pizzerias dotting just a few blocks, Austin Heights offers plenty of choices. For another taste of local, stop by Austin Heights Pizza for one of their specialty pasta dishes, fresh salads or pizzas – such as their famously popular garlic sauce pizza.
Or stop by Florence Pizza and sample one of their donair pizzas, another tasty fusion experience. A visit to Pizza Town & Indian Grill yields other culinary delights, where you can pick up some samosas, pakoras or even some authentically-made butter chicken to complement your slice (or two).
Towards the western end of Austin Heights is where you’ll find more well-known chains such as Domino’s Pizza and Little Caesar’s.
Austin Heights is situated in the southwest part of Coquitlam, stretching along Austin Avenue from Blue Mountain Street in the west to Gatensbury Street to the east, and along Ridgeway Avenue just one block north of Austin.