Sneaking a Peek Inside What Would Soon Become the West Side’s Best Pizzeria

On the 12th of May, 2014 – five years ago this week – Wildebeest co-owners Josh Pape and James Iranzad showed me around the space that would later become Bufala, their new Kerrisdale pizzeria. For this week’s Throwback Thursday feature, we look back at what the place looked like when it was still under construction.

The 55-seat Bufala at 5295 West Blvd quickly became the very model of a neighbourhood restaurant. Frequented by families of regulars and consistently busy night after night, it has benefitted from a simple, well-executed concept from the start, one that is squarely focused on quality across the board.

But we’re getting ahead of ourselves. This #TBT is covered in construction dust…

Josh Pape and James Iranzad inside the Bufala construction site.

Here’s an excerpt from what I wrote about it back then…

The design will see the space dominated by two long communal tables running down the middle of the room with four booths on one side and an open kitchen bar complete with four or five stools for prime viewing/dining on the other. There is no sit down bar, though there is – naturally – a bar program. “It’s definitely a smaller program than what I’m used to,” Pape – a former Bartender of the Year – explains, “but it’ll have a good mix of classic Italian and contemporary cocktails.” I trust we’ll also see a well chosen selection of wines by the glass and some quality beers as well.

For sure, Vancouverites like pizza. In recent years they’ve been rewarded for their decades of patience suffering mostly second rate pies by an explosion of quality pizza joints, especially in East Van. But the people of Kerrisdale – and the West Side in general – haven’t been as fortunate. So it would be hard to view this development as anything other than is an absolute win for them.

And excellence aside, the award-winning Wildebeest is very much a fun-loving eatery, so I imagine they’ll get a lot of kicks out of doing pizza. “We want to be a neighbourhood restaurant,” Pape says, “but want to play a little bit, too.”

If you want to fast-forward to Bufala’s opening day, we were there and took a bunch of photos, but this is what it looked like a month previous, well before it served its first pizza…

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