In Defense of The Hawaiian

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The Hawaiian

Let’s face it, that particular subgenre of pizza known as “The Hawaiian” (or alternatively, Canadian Bacon and Pineapple, CBP, or my personal favorite, the Swine and Pine) inspires either love or loathing. Pizza purists (particularly folks from the East Coast) regularly come through our pizzeria slice bars and proclaim (often loudly) that “FRUIT DOES NOT BELONG ON PIZZA!” Putting aside the fact that tomatoes are, indeed, taxonomically a fruit, many people think that the combination of the slightly smoky Canadian bacon and the sweetness of the pineapple taste rather great together. Phone Center General Manager Jun Kenney (aka the Voice of Pagliacci) confirms that sales of The Hawaiian are “Huge. Easily one of the top 3 pizzas that are ordered every day.” We’ve built upon that sweet, fruity and slightly salty pairing with our Pear Primo and Prosciutto Fig seasonal pies.

Given the name, you would think that The Hawaiian was invented in Hawaii, or at least on the West Coast. There are some pizza places that even call the combination “The West Coaster.” Surprisingly, the origins of The Hawaiian are actually closer to the East Coast than you might think. According to a 2010 article in the Chatham Daily News, The Hawaiian was born in the city of Chatham in the Canadian province of Ontario. A restaurateur named Sam Panopoulos came up with the combination at his Family Circle Restaurant in 1962.

Chatham is a mere 67 miles from Cleveland, Ohio. As the crow flies, it is less than 550 miles away from the birthplace of pizza in the US, New York City. By way of comparison, it is 2,396 miles from Chatham to Seattle. So the next time someone says that they’re from the East Coast and no one in that part of the country would EVER put fruit on a pizza, you can just grin, share your knowledge of The Hawaiian’s origin, and remind them that Chatham, Canada is a lot closer to New York City then Seattle is!