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Pizzeria 4 Stelle

A stellar pizza experience
Pizzeria 4 Stelle | Geoff Godard
Pizzeria 4 Stelle | Geoff Godard

Oakville’s downtown is blessed in many ways. Since the Lakeshore Road renovation and Covid restrictions lifted, there are over 50 new establishments in the Downtown BIA!

This vibrant retail landscape is yet another of the things that make our small part of the world so interesting. Many businesses are unique. We have written about some of them. We now look at another.

Geoff Godard
Geoff Godard

Pizzeria 4 Stelle, on the north side of Lakeshore, just past Lululemon, opened February 2021, downtown’s first new pizza restaurant since Pizzaiola opened almost ten years ago. The last phase of the Lakeshore Road reconstruction was over, but Covid restrictions continued to grip the land.

The owners, the Kaci family, were recent immigrants from Albania. Their story is most interesting.

Albanian pizza? Albania, which straddles the Adriatic and Ionian Seas, is less than fifty miles east of the heel of the boot of Italy. It has a complicated history, somewhat entwined with Italy through the centuries.

It was first noted on a map published in 150 A.D. by the Roman geographer and astronomer, Ptolemy, as the Roman city of Albanopolis, after the Albanoi, who lived around the city.

In 1204 A.D., Venice won control for a time during the fourth Crusade. Various wars were fought in the subsequent centuries to the 20th, when Italy under Mussolini invaded it, spring 1939. Albania’s history remained tumultuous until recently. It has been a member of NATO since 2009, and in 2014 it became an official candidate for accession to the European Union.

That there has been an Italian culinary influence in Albanian cuisine for a long time? No surprise. An Albanian pizzeria? Of course.

But 4 Stella is somewhat more than that. It’s what we in North America think of as a trattoria: inexpensive, informal, specializing in Italian dishes not just pizza. Think pasta, salads and sandwiches. 

The Kaci family in 2010 established a successful restaurant of the same name in Shkodër, a city with origins in the Bronze Age. Near Velipoja Beach on the Adriatic, it was a secondary business, the main being a successful car rental service established by Mr. Kaci senior.  

Pizzeria 4 Stelle refers not just to the quality of the food but was also a nod to the Kaci’s four young children at the time. Quite prescient.

Kevin Kaci, the family
Kevin Kaci, the family's youngest, is an accomplished pianist who often performs at the restaurant | Geoff Godard

Although successful in Albania, relatives who had emigrated to Canada beckoned the family to join them. When a daughter, who had captured attention playing for the Albanian National Basketball Team, was offered a scholarship at a basketball academy in Canada, the lure became more compelling.

The eldest, Keidio, had already been lured and was enrolled in engineering at Ryerson University. The other son, the youngest, Kevin, had gained attention as having an exceptional talent for the piano. Tutored by Alexander Jakova, a noted Albanian pianist and teacher, he was offered further tutoring here in Canada. 

The lure of Canada was now irresistible. Mr. Kaci sold both businesses, and the whole family reunited here in 2020. The basketball player is now on a scholarship at Perdue University. Kleidio will graduate as an electrical engineer this spring. A second daughter is in grade 11 at St. Thomas Aquinas. She, too, played for the Albanian team (at the age of 15!).

She expects to follow her sister’s steps to a university basketball scholarship and possibly a business degree. Kevin, 12, is studying piano at the Royal Conservatory of Music under the tutelage of the renowned pianist Megan Chang, augmented by weekly instruction via Zoom with Mr. Jakova.

Mrs. Kaci is the chef at Pizzeria 4 Stelle | Geoff Godard
Mrs. Kaci is the chef at Pizzeria 4 Stelle | Geoff Godard

The restaurant was successful despite the Covid headwinds. Additional servers have been hired. This past summer, an outdoor patio on Lakeshore opened. The tables were mostly full, speaking to the quality of the food.  

This winter, indoor seating capacity has been added and a sit-down bar installed. Plans are being made for a second location, maybe in Port Credit. After that? The sky appears to be the limit for this very accomplished family. 

Pizzeria 4 Stelle is a five-star experience. Shkodër’s loss is our gain. We are fortunate the Kaci’s chose Oakville. 

Pizzeria 4 Stelle

299 Lakeshore Rd E

(905) 842-6665

Monday thru Thursday: 11:00 am to 9:00 pm; Friday and Saturday: 11:00 am to 10:00 pm, and Sunday: 11:00 am to 8:00 pm