By Willem Thomas
VANCOUVER – Sometimes, a miscalculation can actually be of benefit. For the Kitchen Table Restaurant Group (of Ask For Luigi and Pourhouse fame), their venture on the corner of Cordova and Carrall, Joe’s Pizza, didn’t quite meet their expectations. While its Roman-style pizza was well-received, its counter service and cafeteria-like atmosphere never quite felt right in the large, unique character space. So a rework was needed. By saving Joe’s Pizza with a logical move out to UBC and its ravenous students, they were ready to elevate their Gastown address into something special.
Enter Di Beppe, which essentially translates to “Joe’s” from Italian. Di Beppe isn’t your average Italian eatery. The space has been split into two distinct halves – a café and a restaurant – creating a particularly welcoming blend of casual and quasi-upscale dining. The restaurant side avoids any off-putting attributes of fine-dining, like vexing price points, but still gives guests the same level of quality in food and overall experience. Di Beppe’s café side feels like another establishment altogether, with a totally different design and separate offerings on the menu. Both sides work in conjunction smoothly due to the central bar that passes through each room. Guests enter through the café on Cordova, which operates through the day and into night service, and after 5 p.m., seating in the restaurant begins.
Whether your knowledge of Italian food extends only so far as The Godfather Part II’s closing scene or you’re visiting Vancouver from Italy itself, Di Beppe should be able to accommodate and surprise you. As is to be expected if you’ve visited any of the group’s other establishments, proper care has been implemented, with highly knowledgeable staff members able to properly explain and recommend fare on both sides of the room. Their dedicated Italian coffee program, led by Chris Giannakos (who has worked with Revolver Coffee) exemplifies this care.
“Every drink here should feel like you went to your Italian uncle’s house, and we take huge pride in making our coffee the proper way,” he says. “Most places in Vancouver can’t do a true Italian cappuccino. That’s one of main things we’re doing differently here.”
Both sides of the establishment already seemed to be operating in a well-rehearsed capacity when BeatRoute visited, despite only having opened a week prior. Not papering up and hiding from view, passers-by could peek in the large windows and see as Di Beppe took shape. What emerged is a wholly original, authentic Italian restaurant that will most likely be jam-packed into the new year. Make sure to try a corretto – “The ultimate 5 o’clock pick-me-up,” says GM Matthew Morgenstern – while waiting for your table.
Di Beppe is located at 8 West Cordova Street.Di Beppe, food, Italian