Wise 50 Over 50 Award™
Brian Vallis – Piatto Pizzeria + Enoteca
A CPA by training, with a varied career including being a insolvency practitioner, furniture manufacturer, international TV and radio executive, and international media consultant. Having travelled extensively I acquired a passion for good pizza, wine and coffee. Often when I returned home, I wondered why it was so difficult to get good pizza, decent wine and great espresso, served in an environment which could be enjoyed by parents and children alike. A review of pizza establishments in Atlantic Canada lead me to the conclusion that there was a gap in the market for such a place, so we designed a concept which embodied the characteristics of “your local” British pub, a French cafe and an Italian pizzeria.
I started Piatto Pizzeria + Enoteca at 57 years old. I was inspired to start the business after living and travelling extensively in Europe for a number of years because every time I returned to St. John’s I always missed the atmosphere of the local British pubs, the people watching of the French cafes and the vibrance of the Italian pizzerias. A quick market assessment revealed that no such concept existed so I thought it would be a great idea and opportunity to recreate all of this, but in one restaurant. In doing so we opted for the traditional Neapolitan pizza, complete with wood-fired oven, hand pulled espresso machine and eromatic wine machines so our guests could experience the true flavours of Naples and Italy… all in the comfort of their own neighbourhood.
We started in St. John’s in 2010 and have expanded to 6 locations (one of which is seasonal in PEI ) across all 4 Atlantic provinces. We were the second pizzeria in Canada to receive the prestigious VPN (Verra Pizza Napoletana) designation and now have 4 of only 504 certified pizzerias in the world. This designation is issued by the Italian organization and indicates that we follow the methods, traditions and processes which preserve the original style of pizza from Naples.
Our sales this year are over $7,500,000 and we are currently considering at least two new locations for 2018. We pride ourselves on delivering the most authentic Neapolitan pizza experience in Canada and have been rewarded with several local awards for best pizza, best lunch special, best atmosphere and have also won the Consumer Choice Awards for Best Italian Restaurant for several years plus the Top Choice Award in 2016. We were also named Restauranteur of the Year in 2016 by the Restaurant Association of Newfoundland and Labrador.
This year we partnered with Scouts Canada across the Atlantic Provinces to offset our carbon footprint by sponsoring their planting of trees in all provinces, followed by a pizza party for all those Cubs, Scotts and Beavers who planted the trees. We continue to support local food banks as well as many local charities in each location.