PIZZA PANACHE  The Mitchell family, Todd, Brenda, Madeleine, and Alexandra, have banded together to bring the valley Pizzeria Mercato, the new restaurant operating alongside Hopkins Harvest. Photo by Dan Walton

PIZZA PANACHE The Mitchell family, Todd, Brenda, Madeleine, and Alexandra, have banded together to bring the valley Pizzeria Mercato, the new restaurant operating alongside Hopkins Harvest. Photo by Dan Walton

By Dan Walton

Pioneer Staff

The valleys newest pizzeria spares no expense putting together top-quality dishes. Operating in tandem with Hopkins Harvest, Pizzeria Mercato has joined the market to include a hot new line of wholesome food.

There can never be enough great pizza in one valley, said owner Todd Mitchell.

Pizza has been a big part of Todds career, whos spent more than two decades in hospitality as the general manager and co-owner of Best Western Invermere Inn. Knowing that the next step in his career would revolve around pizza, Todd studied earlier this year at Tony Gemignanis International School of Pizza in San Francisco. Mr. Gemignani was the first North American to win the World Pizza Cup in Italy in 2007.

Much of the menu at Pizzeria Mercato was influenced by Mr. Gemignani, such as the hand-pressed dough for their Italian-style pizzas which are all baked in a wood-fired oven.

And to appease other preferences, Mercato pizzas can instead be ordered in a Greek-style, which gets toasted to a golden-brown in a conveyor oven.

But regardless of which culture influenced the dish, Good pizza equals the proper balance of meat, cheese, veggies, and crust and quality ingredients.

Another page taken from Mr. Gemignanis playbook applies to the dough at Pizza Mercato. Made from scratch, there are two separate recipes for both Italian and Greek-style pizzas.

They both have different blending techniques, he said. Most important is good ingredients, good water which we have here in Windermere and proper humidity and temperature.

Pizzeria Mercato has 17 toppings and four sauces (two marinara and two pesto-based), and its menu also features salads and Italian olives.

Along with Todds wife Brenda and daughters, Madeleine and Alexandra, the family is operating the business as Team Mitchell. With a positive reception from customers, Pizzeria Mercato is looking to grow, and will be accepting applications for part-time and full-time work. Todd can be contacted at 341-1966 for employment inquiries, but the pizza parlour currently only takes walk-in orders.

Before its opening day, the Pizzeria Mercato was brought to perfect working order with some local help Chris Ekland of Toby Creek Electric and Doug Kelly from DCS Plumbing.

Operating hours are similar to Hopkins Harvest both stay open until 8 p.m., while the pizzeria opens at noon, two hours after the market starts. Pizzeria Mercato is open everyday except for Wednesdays, and will definitely be running until the last weekend in September. Todd is exploring the possibility of keeping Pizzeria Mercato operating during the Hopkins offseason.

And keep an eye out for their website and social media to be launched soon.