The Hamilton Spectator
It’s Pizza Time at Hamilton’s newest pizza joint — Cowabunga+
Pizza is one of the universal languages of food. Every city you visit around the world has a popular pizza restaurant. It doesn’t matter where you are from, you can enjoy a good slice of pizza.
There are no shortages of good pizza in Hamilton. Especially in the past few years, there have been many new pizza joints popping up all around the city.
One of the most popular pizza restaurants in Hamilton is Cowabunga, which opened right at the start of the pandemic in 2020.
Mountain residents were very excited to finally have another unique restaurant open up in their neck of the woods.
But people in the downtown core were missing out. Well, have no fear, Cowabunga heard you, and they have officially opened their second location in downtown Hamilton called Cowabunga Plus.
The original Cowabunga had a simple menu with a handful of pizzas. Their original location on Upper Wellington is small and serves just as a takeout restaurant.
Owners Justin Tanada and Andy Huynh had bigger goals to expand their menu and have an area where customers can sit down, eat, and grab a drink.
We chatted with Justin and he excitedly shared: “Cowabunga Plus is the solution to a lot of the things we want to do with Cowabunga Pizzeria but can’t because of the limited space and location.
“We often run into the issue of selling out of pizza because of how little space we have in our (first) location, we can only do about 200 per night out of there, takeout only. That also limits the amount of other food we can do.”
With the opening of Cowabunga Plus, Justin said they are “more accessible to people in other areas and can produce a lot more food now, our space is almost triple the size.
“We can now sell individual slices, and different styles of food, people can dine in and hang out, and we’re in another great location in the heart of an awesome community. We’re just really excited to be able to deliver a different experience we feel people deserve at Cowabunga Pizzeria.”
Justin and Andy have known each other since they were kids. Their sisters are the same age and were classmates in grade school. Justin’s sister had one of her birthday parties at a Pizza Hut buffet and that was when their families met.
Justin fondly told us: “I remember having ice cream with Andy at the sundae bar, eating pizza and playing his Game Boy during the party. We’ve been friends ever since, passively (more because our sisters are friends), but it wasn’t until we both had jobs at pizza places that we really started to talk more and hang out a lot together.
“We would ‘nerd out’ a lot about pizza, constantly talk about our favourite places and even travel to visit all the pizza spots in the area. Eventually, it was a no-brainer to
Both Justin and Andy work tirelessly for both locations, sweating every detail
open a spot of our own with all the knowledge and resources we had.”
If you have been following them on Instagram (Justin — @pizzatography and Andy — @doughbender), you can tell that not only is their friendship strong, but they definitely have the same vision for their restaurant goals and how they envision Cowabunga and now Cowabunga+.
Both Justin and Andy work tirelessly for both locations, sweating every detail to make sure the restaurants are fun and nostalgic for both their customers and staff. (Look out for how their staff takes your order using a VHS tape!)
If you have been to Cowabunga before, you will notice familiar pizzas on their Cowabunga Plus menu as well.
But at the new location, you will also find appetizers, Bunga bites, and, of course, their signature pizzas.
If you are brand new to the Cowabunga menu, Justin recommends, “the Pepperoni + pizza with a Garlic Dip, it is my usual go-to. It’s a blend of our favourite Cup & Char Pepperoni, and our House-Pickled Jalapenos, topped with a drizzle of Spicy Honey.
“If you don’t eat meat though, the SEE COWABUNGA, G2