How three generations of women helped to turn Camarra Pizzeria into a local institution

The pizzeria turned 60 years old in 2018



Published:

L–R: Elisa Camarra with Michael Douglas and Catherine Zeta-Jones

Three generations of women in the Camarra family have worked behind the kitchen counter of their eponymous restaurant since 1958, pounding dough, baking pastries and wedding cakes or delivering pizzas to the Italian-Canadian neighbourhood near Dufferin Street and Lawrence Avenue West.

Much of the restaurant has gone unchanged in that time. The decor has never been flashy; instead, the focus has always been on good food.

This year marks the pizzeria’s 60th anniversary, and Emilia Valentini, daughter and granddaughter of Elisa and Domenica Camarra (respectively), shared their story.

What’s special about Camarra?
We’re the longest-running original family-owned-and-operated pizzeria in Toronto. We started in Italy in 1953 and came over to Toronto in 1958. It went from a pastry shop to a grocery store to a pizzeria within a five-year period. So it grew pretty quickly. In some cases, we’ve seen four generations of one family come to dine. We’re very blessed.

How has the neighbourhood changed over the years?
I think at first it was quite predominantly Italian. It made sense to open where we did. But as that community has progressively moved north and northwest, we’ve seen a real diversification of the neighbourhood. We’re fortunate that we can put this dining experience in front of a whole new group of cultures and still see an appreciation for it. The local BIA is also exploring bringing Green P and more street parking to the area. We’re told we should see some movement forward on that in the first half of 2018.

What notable people have walked through your doors?
Ed McMahon, to go back quite a number of years; Michael Douglas and Catherine Zeta-Jones. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, most recently, came one day to pay his respects to my mother. He was very sweet, gentle and appreciative of her years of service

Camarra Pizzeria and Restaurant, 2899 Dufferin Street, 416-789-3221

Edit Module

Join the conversation and have your say by commenting below. Our comment system uses a Facebook plugin. Please note that you'll have to turn off some ad-blockers in order to see the comments.

Edit Module

Follow us on Twitter @PostCity for more on what to eat, where to shop and what to do in Toronto.

Edit ModuleShow Tags

You may also like...

Museum of Contemporary Art to transform Toronto

Museum of Contemporary Art to transform Toronto

Sterling Road beckons with groundbreaking art gallery and culinary destinations
Posted 4 days ago
Richmond Hill to ban cannabis retail despite legalization?

Richmond Hill to ban cannabis retail despite legalization?

The province will provide $40 mil to municipalities to help with the cost of regulation
Posted 6 days ago
Toronto basketball star Danilo Djuricic on playing for Harvard University

Toronto basketball star Danilo Djuricic on playing for Harvard University

St. Michael's College alumnus has already met goals on and off the court, including a gold medal with Team Canada
Posted 1 week ago
What can Toronto learn about marijuana legalization from other cities?

What can Toronto learn about marijuana legalization from other cities?

Denver is reaping serious economic rewards, Montevideo is a case of what not to do, and Vancouver is the Wild West. So, what is next for Toronto?
Posted 1 week ago
Edit Module
Edit Module
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleEdit Module