A slice of famous Montreal pizza and how it could find its way to outer space

Click to play video: 'Montreal pizza ready for blast off with new space partnership'
Montreal pizza ready for blast off with new space partnership
A pizzeria in Montreal is trying to reach new heights — literally. Pizzeria Napoletana has recently partnered with Space Concordia. Students are hoping to launch a successful rocket to space and with it, a special piece of Montreal on board. Felicia Parrillo explains – Mar 18, 2024

Being in the kitchen is like second nature for Linda Girolamo.

She basically grew up at Pizzeria Napoletana, in Montreal’s Little Italy, after her father purchased the restaurant in the late 1970’s, from its previous owners.

Founded 76 years ago, the pizzeria is said to be the oldest in the city.

Girolamo says she’s always looking for new and creative ideas for the business.

“We’ve been here since 1948 so now I said the sky’s the limit, where are we going next? We’re going to space,” said Girolamo.

Some classic pizzas from Pizzeria Napoletana in Montreal. Felicia Parrillo/Global News

Recently, Girolamo was approached by George Defo, a family friend and Concordia University student, who’s part of Space Concordia’s rocketry division.

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For years, a large team has been working on the Starsailor project with the goal of building and launching a liquid-propelled rocket to space.

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But with a thin budget, the team is always looking for funding.

Last year, Defo thought to approach the pizzeria for help.

“When I reached out to her and we sat down, she said yes of course,” recounted Defo. “She was ready to help and she provided us with financial aid.”

With the funds, the team was able to go to Ontario last summer and perform two successful burn tests – a critical step to getting the rocket ready for launch in December.

“It would be the first launch to go to space from Canadian soil in 30 years so it’s also kind of a first in Canada,” said Nathan McDonald Fortier, Concordia University Student, who is one of the project’s team captains. “And also, liquid rockets are very uncommon in Canada.”

In exchange for the funding, Girolamo says she wanted the pizzeria to be part of the historic event.

So she asked the team if they could send a slice of her pizza to space.

“I want to do something that we don’t particularly have on the menu,” she said.

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The pizza will feature a dried red pepper from Puglia, among other delicious ingredients.

It’ll also be available in the restaurant in April for about a month, and available for takeout, before it hopefully successfully launches to space later this year.

It’s fittingly being called the rocket.

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