This is Pizza Corner, the infamous intersection of Grafton and Blowers Street that features three different pizza outlets on three corners. It’s a magnet for people spilling out of nearby downtown bars. The fourth corner is a church.
Like all pizza places in the Maritimes, they also serve donairs — and donair burgers, donair subs and donair pizza.
As the story goes, the donair craze began in Halifax in the 1970s. When Peter Gamoulakos came to Canada, he could not sell any Greek gyros. So he changed the lamb to beef, ditched the tzatziki and created a distinctive sweet sauce and voila — the Halifax donair was born.
A donair is basically made of meat sliced from loaf of pressed ground beef, flour and various spices turning on a vertical spit, diced tomatoes and onions in a pita. But what makes it a Halifax donair is the thick sweet sauce made of evaporated milk, sugar, vinegar and garlic.
It’s best to eat it outside or over a garbage can. The pita is really an afterthought as the overloaded sauce and meat just ooze everywhere. I prefer shawarmas and garlicky sauce but this donair was pretty tasty, especially after a long night out.
The King of Donair claims to have invented this Halifax specialty and has turned it into a successful chain business.
Its Pizza Corner location does a steady business, especially after the clubs and bars get out, and is the scene, I’m sure, of many conversations like this one Jason and I had at about 2 a.m.
Me: I’m getting a small donair. What do you want?
Me: No, honey, what do you want? A medium donair or do you want pizza?
Jason: Mmmmm. Yes.
Me: So do you want a donair or a pizza?
Jason (pointing to a donair pizza): I want that.
Me: You don’t want a donair?
King of Donair, 1580 Grafton St., Halifax, Nova Scotia, (902) 422-0000.