PEMBROKE, ONT. -- Joe Ward has been perfecting his pizza craft for decades.

Now, Joe's Family Pizzeria in Pembroke, Ont. is being recognized outside of the Ottawa Valley.

"We actually won second best pizzeria in Canada by Canadian Pizza Magazine, so shout out to them, we appreciate it," says Ward, president and CEO of the local pizzeria. The restaurant received that award in May, but that is just the tip of the slice.

This month, Joe's was named to have the best take-home pizza kit in Canada by Canadian Pizza Magazine.

"There's other products out there and we came up with our own, and it's our product," says Ward's wife Natacha, owner of Joe's Family Pizzeria. "It's something that we put our heart and soul into."

The restaurant has been making the pizza kits for years, but the popularity took off during the pandemic, with the kits now available in 30 different grocery stores across eastern Ontario and Quebec.

"A lot of pizza kit products, you have to make your own dough," says Joe. "This, the dough is ready for you to go. You can toss it up in the air and stretch it and have fun with the kids. Especially through the pandemic it was a family experience."

The owners says there is no secret to the ingredients behind the award winning pizza kits, just the house-made dough, sauce, cheese, and pepperoni. They say it's the extra love and care baked in that makes the difference.

"I like to say it starts in the heart. It's the service, it's the family, this is home, and it goes from there," says Natacha. "Then of course it has to be the dough and lots of cheese and everything."

"Everybody loves the pizza, everybody locally loves the pizza, but now we can share that love with people outside of Pembroke and Petawawa," adds Joe.

On top of the previously mentioned awards, Joe's also touts to have the best pizza in all of the valley.

With the best pizzeria named by Canadian Pizza Magazine located in Slave Lake, Alta., Ward says they can say with confident reasoning that makes them the best pizza around.

Ward credits the personal touch that is still available to those who stop into the restaurant to pick up their order.

"People want to know the people making their food, they want to know the owners," says the lifelong pizza maker. "They don't want to come in and hear '6-43!'. They want to chat with you; they don't want to just hear an order number."