Sabbaticals are really rare in the food business because they’re virtually impossible to take, so if and when a chef or restaurateur can somehow manage to temporarily close shop so as to rest, refocus, and perhaps even reimagine their concept, it’s akin to a unicorn sighting…
Such is the current case with the hard-working French sisters at East Van’s beloved Pie Shoppe, which closed December 29th. Stephanie and Andi usually take some time off at the start of every new year to recharge their batteries, but things will be very different when they return this time around.
When we sat down together over a bottle of wine on the rainy evening that closed their final service, we got to talking about what’s next. While on sabbatical the duo will be considering the lengths to which they’re going to change the 1,200 sqft shop when they reopen in March. The basic skinny is that they want to be open in the evenings instead of the days; rearrange the room to accommodate about two dozen people (seated); apply for a liquor license so they can serve natural wines to said people; and introduce a selection of high quality pizzas using local, organic flour and seasonal ingredients.
For sure they’re going to keep doing pies and coffee, but after a seven-year run of doing the same thing they want/need to switch things up in order to maintain their creative spark, if not their sanity.
As to whether or not this means they’ll rebrand is still open for internal debate. Since pizza is considered a pie, they might not need to. We’ll have more on the project as it takes shape.