Pi Co. is an Ontario-based custom-crafted Neapolitan pizza chain with over 25 locations in Eastern Canada.
In 2022 the franchise decided to bring its delicious, made-to-order pizzas to the West Coast. We worked with Pi Co. to navigate the unique challenges of building a restaurant in Vancouver and helped them create a fantastic new dining option in Downtown Vancouver.
One of the distinguishing features of Pi Co.’s design is that the pizza is made out in the open for patrons to see. Rather than simply ordering from a menu, making your own custom Neapolitan pizza becomes an experience in itself. A long toppings bar was installed behind a glass barrier to give Pi Co. customers a full view of everything that goes into their pizza.
The centre piece of the open kitchen design is a custom pizza oven. The Marra Forni custom brick pizza oven is adorned with white porcelain tiles and has “Pi Co.” spelled out with contrasting black tiles. However, while the oven definitely steals the show, the most challenging aspect of this build is something that most people would overlook.
A commercial pizza oven to operate requires a lot of ventilation. Installing a commercial ventilation system in a building not originally designed for a commercial kitchen of this scale is very challenging. To do this, we had to coordinate with the building management to arrange the installation of a ventilation system that spanned from the restaurant, through a150-foot lobby, and out of the other side of the building. This highlights the value of hiring a contractor that understands the unique requirements and needs specific to the location.
Installation of the exterior signage was pretty straightforward. Having already built the flagship location of Beirut-based Zaatar W Zeit across the street, we were very familiar with the local permit requirements for sidewalk construction.
Overall, we are thrilled with how the construction of Pi Co. turned out, and the fact that the franchise owner was such a pleasure to work with made it even more worthwhile.
It was a great experience helping share our knowledge and experience of building in Vancouver. We have no doubt that Pi Co. will be a host to many downtown office pizza parties in the future. If you are around the downtown Vancouver area and in the mood for some delicious, handcrafted pizza, check them out!