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A trailblazing Vancouver pizza restaurant grows again under new ownership

Two more pizza spots coming to Vancouver with a familiar name

When Nicli Antica Pizzeria closed its original Gastown location in 2021, it looked as though the trailblazing restaurant was on the verge of ending its run. 

However, not only did Nicli's North Vancouver presence endure, thanks to its Edgemont Village restaurant, it essentially doubled; Nicli took over the beloved Lonsdale Quay Bowen Island Pizza stall and relaunched it as a more casual operation branded Nicli Pronto, focused solely on a menu of meat, veggie, and vegan pizzas.

Nicli's expansion happened thanks to new ownership carrying on the legacy; in May 2021, entrepreneur Arash Fasihi took over the brand and has been steadily growing the business.

Now Nicli is poised to add two more locations to its Vancouver offerings, starting with the launch of the pizzeria at UBC Wesbrook. Nicli has taken over the space vacated by vegan pizza spot Virtuous Pie, which closed up at 3339 Shrum Lane in late September 2022. Like its sibling in North Vancouver, Nicli Pizzeria & Cocktail Bar at UBC will have pizza, pasta, salads, fresh-baked foccacia, and kids' dishes.

"In addition to our amazing pizza, we will also be offering a selection of delicious cocktails to complement your meal. Our team of expert mixologists has crafted a menu of unique and innovative cocktails that are sure to delight your senses and elevate your dining experience," said Fasihi in an email to V.I.A.

Nicli Pizzeria & Cocktail Bar will soft open at UBC on July 28 at 11:30 a.m. 

Another Vancouver Nicli location in the works

Following the launch of the UBC restaurant, Nicli also has one of its "Pronto" locations in the works in East Vancouver at 935 Commercial Dr. The pizzeria will be taking over the space previously home to Artisan Bake Shoppe, and signage is already up at the address.

Nicli's re-emergence is a testament to the brand's legacy; in 2011, when Bill McCaig opened Nicli in Gastown, it was the first certified Verace Napoletana pizza to be offered in Vancouver. 

Its designation within the VPN Association, the global group that teaches true Neapolitan-style pizza making and certifies chefs and restaurants in order to preserve traditional methods and curbs false claims of authenticity, helped Nicli lead the way for what became a wave of pizza-making ventures in Vancouver - many of which remain open today.

Though the restaurant is no longer run by McCaig, Fasihi told V.I.A.: "Our pizza-making process is a true labor of love, and we are committed to using only the finest ingredients and traditional Neapolitan techniques to create a taste experience that is truly one-of-a-kind."

Details about what to expect at the Commercial Drive Nicli Pronto or a target opening date have not been made available so far.