Before restaurant co-owners Amrit Nijjar and his mother Surinder could bring authentic Neapolitan pizza to Langley, they had to do some serious research. Neapolitan is no ordinary pizza — like Champagne, it can only be made using specific ingredients and traditional techniques — so Nijjar and his mom consulted the experts.
The pair already successfully co-own the Langley franchise of Ricky’s All Day Grill, and they recently invested in bringing a dual branded concept to the location with Famoso Italian Pizzeria + Bar. That gave them access to expert chefs across all of Famoso’s restaurants, and the two did a grand tour of every location in the Lower Mainland to make sure they got it right.
“Bringing in Famoso was a mutual conversation between me, mom, and the team at the Ricky’s head office. We realized the need for authentic Neapolitan pizza in Langley,” Amrit says. “Ricky’s is known for its breakfast and lunch, so bringing in Famoso adds fantastic dinner, takeout and delivery options. It’s also delicious!”
So what does it take to make authentic Neapolitan pizza?
- Hand-milled tomatoes imported from Campania, rich, creamy Fior-Di-Latte mozzarella made from 100 per cent Canadian cow’s milk, hand-torn basil and highly refined low-gluten ‘00’ flour.
- A hot deck oven, imported from Italy, operating at temperatures above 400 degrees Celsius (about double the temperature of your oven at home).
- Expertly trained Pizzaiolos. “At temperatures that high, if you take your eye off the pizza for a second you’re going to burn it. It takes a lot of skill for our Pizzaiolos to get it right,” Amrit says.
Authentic Italian, closer to home
As soon as the Nijjars put the Famoso signage up, customers started coming in for the authentic Italian Neapolitan pizza.
“I had a feeling it would do well, but not as soon as it did. Some of our customers were used to driving all the way to Surrey, Abbotsford, or even Commercial Drive, so they’re happy to have Famoso closer to home.”
People trying the pizza for the first time may take a second to get used to the traditional Neapolitan crust, which has bubbles, speckles and a bit of char, but many of those customers are quickly converted.
“Many of our customers are used to coming into Ricky’s for breakfast on the weekend, and now they’re coming back for dinner on a weeknight,” Amrit says. “Our sales are back to pre-pandemic levels, and we’ve created about eight new full time jobs for the community.”