– originally published on our sister site, Islandist –
The new, 2,300 sqft Victoria location of Virtuous Pie is on the verge of opening inside the Finlayson Building at 530 Pandora Avenue (just down from Fan Tan Alley between Market Square and Chinatown).
I took a look inside the construction site a couple of weeks ago and snapped a bunch of photos (at bottom). When the plant-based pizzeria launches this Saturday, December 14th, the address will house the biggest Virtuous Pie of them all, with 61 seats and a 653 sqft patio. (The company currently has two locations in Vancouver, one in Toronto, and another in Portland, Oregon.) It will also be the first restaurant in the chainlet to offer table service, not to mention several seats at a proper bar that comes complete with a dozen taps and its very own cocktail card.
The high-ceilinged space was still pretty bare bones when I last saw it, so I imagine it’s come a long way since my walk-through. The long open kitchen looked be about 90% done, and the booths facing it were all framed in and awaiting upholstery. There’s plenty of natural light at the front of the room facing Pandora Ave., plus some really cool light sconces throughout.
Some more details from the pre-opening press release:
“As this is our biggest restaurant yet, in a city with such a vibrant craft beer and cocktail scene, it made a lot of sense to add a bar program,” says Jim Vesal, Director of Culinary and Business Development. “It’s being led by Greg Dickson, an industry veteran from Factory Brewing and Matthew Benevoli, who’s won a number of prestigious awards in world cocktail competitions. Their creations will be a mix of old favourites and fresh approaches.”
The food menu will include all the popular plant-based pizzas, ice creams, and small-plates for which the restaurant has become famous. There will also be some additional side dishes and bar food added for late night visitors and patrons who just want to have a few drinks and a bite before going out.
The restaurant has been designed by Simcic Uhrich Architects, the team behind a number of notable Vancouver spaces including Strathcona Brewery and Juniper Restaurant. Architect Bill Uhrich says much of their inspiration came from the neighbourhood’s architectural and social history.
“The restaurant’s new home, the Finlayson Building, was an important building and social space during the Victorian era. The facade’s Chinese and Italianate elements and colour palette are referenced inside. And the interior flow and layout also take their inspiration from the saloons and bars of 19th century Victoria,” says Uhrich.
The team used a combination of grey stained white oak, white quartz, faux leather upholstery, and brass-finished details to create a warm and welcoming atmosphere. The sconce lights mimic street lights, again bringing the outside in.
Take a closer look inside…