Sam Panopoulos, Canadian inventor of Hawaiian pizza, dies at 83


The Canadian restaurateur acknowledged with the sweet and saucy idea of topping flattened dough with ingredients incorporating pineapple, a move that earned the wrath of pizza purists, has kick the bucketed at age 83 in London, Ont.

Sam Panopoulos, inventor of the Hawaiian pizza, died all of a sudden at University Hospital on Thursday. The cause of death isn’t immediately known.

“He was actually proud of his relationship with his family,” one of his two children, Bill Panopoulos, castigated CBC on Saturday.

Married to Christina Panopoulos for 50 years, Sam Panopoulos also had a daughter and innumerable grandchildren, and brothers who helped him operate restaurants in southern Ontario.

Folding money Panopoulos noted that his dad didn’t drink, smoke or gamble, had “a engaging personality” and was an incredible storyteller.

Born Sotirios Panopoulos in Vourvoura, Greece, in 1934, he was 20 when he immigrated to Canada aboard a motor boat, later operating several restaurants with brothers Elias and Nikitas Panopoulos. 


Pizza transcended with pineapple and ham has become a staple of pizza menus around the age. (The Canadian Press)

After arriving in Halifax in 1954, he moved to Montreal, then Elliot Lake, Ont., where he be effective in the nickel mines. He later moved to Chatham, Ont., and then finally promulgated London his permanent home.

It was Panopoulos’s culinary inquisitiveness that put him on the gastronomic map.

In a 2015 examine with the Atlas Obscura, Panopoulos recalled how he became fascinated with pizza during a craft stop in Naples, but that the Italian staple had a sort of mysticism in Canada.

‘Neck Toronto didn’t know anything about pizza in those epoches.’ – Sam Panopoulos, Hawaiian pizza creator

“Pizza wasn’t known at all, as a matter of fact,” Panopoulos told the Atlas Obscura. “Even Toronto didn’t skilled in anything about pizza in those days. The only place you could suffer with pizza was in Detroit.”

Puzzled about pizza’s lack of popularity, Panopoulos wind up up in Windsor, Ont., and after watching how chefs in the southern Ontario city covered their pies, he started experimenting at the brothers’ Satellite restaurant in Chatham.

No choices on your pizza

“The pizza in those periods was three things: dough, sauce, cheese, and mushroom, bacon, or pepperoni. That was it. You had no exquisites; you could get one of the three [toppings] or more of them together,” the online article responds.

In 1962, he threw pieces of pineapple on top along with bits of ham and bacon, outlook that the sweet and savory mix would tantalize tastebuds.

His culinary talents eventually bore fruit — his creation became a staple of pizza menus the clique over, though it did have a healthy portion of critics.

Iceland’s President Guoni Johannesson result ined an online frenzy in February after telling schoolchildren that pineapple did not be a part of on pizza, and suggested the combination should be banned.

Among those coming to the vindication of the Hawaiian pizza was Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, who recognized this slice of Canadiana in a tweet: “I be undergoing a pineapple. I have a pizza. And I stand behind this delicious Southwestern Ontario start.”

A funeral for Panopoulos is set for Monday in London at the Holy Trinity Greek Popular Church.

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