Bringing the pizza that is first to Canada within the 1950s
Tevie Smith is just a 75 12 months restauranteur that is old claims to own brought the initial pizza to Vancouver when you look at the 1950s
Steve Bosch/Vancouver Sun / The Vancouver Sun
Vancouver – Tevie Smith, 75, is sitting at an outdoor dining dining table to start with and Cypress keeping court about the sexcapades of their buddy Wilt Chamberlain, the giant rumbles at their drive-in restaurant in Richmond when you look at the 1960s and exactly how he brought the initial pizza ovens to Canada into the late 1950s.
A lady 40 years their junior walks by, acknowledges him, and smiles.
“don’t think a word he claims!” she laughs.
Tevie smiles right right right back, then gets back once again to rotating their tales. And trust me, you will find great deal of these.
Tevie – everyone calls him Tevie – is amongst the great characters in Vancouver. He is been a restaurateur, a bouncer and a rounder, a man who is been a fixture in a few components of Vancouver culture because the 1950s that are early.
perhaps perhaps Not high tradition, brain.
“He’s the past for the Damon Runyon figures,” claims one of is own earliest buddies, Basil Pantages.
“they can easily fit into anywhere, and merge with all the most useful of these, I need to get to understand you’ feeling. because he comes down with that cheesy ‘”
Also if you do not understand Tevie, you have noticed him. He is the man whom parks their old wagon that is woody a 1947 Chrysler Town and nation, regarding the road by Kits Beach. With a few steamer trunks tied up down on top and sides manufactured from rotting timber, the vehicle is difficult to miss.
Old automobiles are one of his true interests. He has four convertibles – a 1964 Thunderbird, ’65 Corvair, ’65 Mustang, and a ’66 Beaumont – in addition to a 1930 Model A Coupe, a 1934 Packard, and another ’66 Beaumont.
They’re the fruits of several several years of difficult labour.
“compose this down,” states Tevie, that is having a 75th birthday party for 200 in the Smoking puppy Bistro Sunday afternoon.
“It is simple to achieve success within the restaurant company. What you need to complete is work 20 hours a russian mail order bride seven days a week, 364 days a year day. As well as the one you log off, Christmas time, you must go in while making yes the freezers have not gone down. time”
He understands of exactly just just what he talks, for many years because he did it. He started out doing work for Nat Bailey at White place as he had been 13. After some duration later he relocated to an accepted destination called the Senator.
“we utilized to the office Friday evening, Saturday night, rest on the ground upstairs within the banquet space and come down and run the kitchen he recounts by myself on Sunday.
He originated from a poor household, but an entrepreneurial one: their older brother Ascher founded the Smithrite trash collection business. “He began the organization by having a war-assets truck and $700 in veteran’s credits,” Tevie describes.
“He decided to go to Ca on a vacation and saw Dumpster Dumpster. The city of Vancouver did not would you like to grab garbage that is commercial so he got to the trash company. Plus he was at the navy with a other in control of the PNE. The PNE hated the town, so that they offered him the agreement for the PNE trash.”
Tevie did not make because much cash as Ascher, but he most likely had more enjoyable. He went to San Francisco to go to restaurant college after he graduated from high school in Kits in 1951. Here he discovered pizza, that has been all but unknown outside of the community that is italian.
He gone back to Vancouver after he graduated in 1955 and chose to decide to try a pizza concession out during the PNE.
“You know where in actuality the Coliseum is, well, that has been a roller coaster called the Giant Dipper. We offered pissa – it- at the Roller Coaster for 19 cents a slice because they didn’t even know what to call. And trust in me, they took a bite from the jawhorse after which tossed it at me personally. They did not would you like to consume that stuff. We accustomed chase them along the midway.”
Tevie’s claim to function as person that is first offer pizza in Canada had been disputed by their old buddy Ross Fillipone associated with the Penthouse cabaret, whom recently passed on. Fillipone said he imported the very first pizza range into Canada when it comes to Penthouse – and Tevie agrees. But he says Fillipone brought inside the oven illegally, and Smith’s ovens had been Canadian guidelines Association authorized, so Smith had the initial appropriate pizza ovens.
“the sole CSA approval had been in Montreal,” he relates.
“These Mafia kinds – this is certainly a real story – owned the oven business, additionally the bread business that made the crusts. These people were driving a range as much as Montreal to have it approved, because I’d a trailer load of pizza materials coming for the PNE. We introduced 14 of those countertop that is small ovens.
“they certainly were planning to machine gun these inspectors. They certainly were severe. ‘ exactly What have you been dudes doin’? Place the stamp on!’ “
Tevie wound up opening up Vancouver’s very very first pizza restaurant, The Snackery, at 15th and Granville. He additionally had Chipper’s Drive-In at number 3 path and Airport Way into the 1960s, when Richmond “was a bad, bad-ass spot.”
“night was fight night, there’d be 400 kids out in the parking lot,” he says friday. “It ended up being amazing.”
Tevie managed a lot of the action himself. Although he is just five base seven, he had been a weightlifter, and a fairly tough cookie, weighing 250 pounds (113 kilograms) in their prime. (he is 165 now.) He spent a long period as being a bouncer at a number of places, such as the disco that is old spot glucose Daddy’s.
“You possessed a battle,” he claims of bouncing.
“You beat a guy up, he beat you up, whatever, you understand?”
Over time he operated many eateries, both in restaurants plus in bars – Moose McGillicuddy’s, the Arts Club on Granville Island, the Pink Pussycat in Gastown.
But some of their escapades revolve around his years at the guys’s Athletic Club on Hornby Street, that has been into the building that is same two nightspots, Charlie Brown’s and Sneaky Pete’s. It appears like there is a continuous celebration going on in today’s world, a celebration that Tevie along with his stock promoter friends such as for example Herb Capozzi often took on the highway.
“We accustomed get right down to Sun Valley every ” Capozzi says year.
“We took Tevie, that would drop in a large vehicle filled with wine. He’d place it up at the top of the hill and provide champagne and beverages to everyone, and also have a hilarious time viewing everyone get bombed from their brain and attempt to ski straight straight down. 1 / 2 of them got lost in the center of the woods.”
Baseball legend Wilt Chamberlain had been a frequent at the guys’s Athletic Club as he stumbled on town, in which he and Tevie became friends that are close. Chamberlain endured seven base one ins tall, and advertised he previously intercourse with 20,000 ladies. Tevie confirms that yes, indeed, Wilt The Stilt did actually have method with ladies, although their concept about how come a little too risquй for a household magazine.
Tevie ended up being when hitched and contains three grown up children, but he is been a totally free representative for quite some time – he joyfully showcases a snapshot of their flame that is latest, that is 35 years old. He is a charmer, by having an endless method of getting entertaining stories concerning the hairdresser/prostitute whom utilized to get results Howe Street, the notorious loan shark/bouncer Jimmy Hill (who had been gunned straight straight down in the Hotel Georgia) as well as the famous stock promoter Murray (The Pez) Pezim.
You can easily inform he will offer you good tale whenever he says “this really is from the record,” or “You most likely can not print this.” Which occurs about every 10 moments throughout a chat that is 45-minute.
He retired through the restaurant company years back and today spends a lot of their hard work starting thrift shops for charities that look after pets, like the Wildlife save Thrift Store downtown.
He sorely misses his friend that is old Fillipone whom he played racquetball with each week. But most of the time, at 75, Tevie Smith is fairly content. He has household across from Kits Beach, he’s their stable of collector vehicles, he has got his dogs. Along with his memories.
“Life is great,” he states. “Life is actually good.”