When Bosa Foods moved out of its original location on Victoria Drive back in the summer of 2015 you could immediately feel its absence. It had been there – a warren-like maze of Italian deliciousness and obscurities – for all my life. Of course it reopened a few blocks away on Commercial Drive, but the new spot just wasn’t the same. Instead of feeling like a charmingly imperfect, 60 year old institution that was umbilically connected to the recessed community it served, it felt like an impermanent pop-up on a bustling street. I’d do some shopping there, sure, but it just wasn’t the same.
Good things take time. The Bosa family knocked down the original store (opened in 1957) and started to build its 4,600 sqft replacement in early 2016. Construction – complete with 27 rental units above – is set to wrap in a few weeks. Operations Manager Victor Benedet recently walked me through the site, showing me where the retail aisles and check-outs would go, excitedly detailing Bosa’s new line of prepared foods (eg. whole roast chickens, lasagnas, et cetera), and pointing out the crown mouldings that will no doubt lend the lofty space some of the original’s earned character.
In addition to doubling the retail floor area, expanding its kitchen tool and houseware offerings, and lining a wall with freezers and coolers, the voluminous space – supported by five massive columns and brightened by huge windows – will be anchored by a large delicatessen (including butcher cuts) and a full counter-service cafe operation of some 20 seats.
Tucked away in its residential fastness of old, flanked by the same schools as before and surrounded by regular customers who will still count their loyalty by the decade, the old shop is new again. Well, almost. Opening day is being set for some point in the last week of September. It’s not hard to imagine what it will look like when it’s done…