Canadian Pizza Magazine

Edmonton’s Buco Pizzeria to expand

By Canadian Pizza   

News annex buco's buco's pizzeria & Vino bar

In March, Buco will open a 200-seat restaurant and bar in the downtown’s Epcor Tower near the Rogers Place arena.

Edmonton – Buco Pizzeria & Vino Bar in Edmonton will open two new restaurants back to back: one in the city’s Upper Windermere area in February and another downtown near the Rogers Place arena in March.

The Upper Windermere restaurant, set to open in February, is a 372-square-metre restaurant with 170 seats and an all-day, European-style bar.

Doors will open in March on a 200-seat restaurant and bar in the downtown’s Epcor Tower a block from Rogers Place arena.

A part of Sorrentino’s Restaurant Group, Buco specializes in fresh, modern Italian entrées, grilled dishes, Napoletana pizza and desserts. The Buco’s concept is about sharing and creating a quality dining experience, said Chris Hrynyk, the chain’s corporate chef. The Windermere restaurant will have a bar and lounge and extend its opening hours beyond those at the original St. Albert location. “We are trying to draw a younger market,” Hrynyk said. “It’s a modern approach with ambience.”

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The Epcor Tower restaurant will take advantage of a prime downtown location in the city’s Ice District to provide hot breakfast every day to nearby office workers.

The core menu is the same at the Buco locations, and staff will alternate among the three locations, Hrynyk said.

Sorrentino’s Restaurant Group, which is owned by Carmelo and Stella Rago, employs between 430 and 450 staff across its 13 locations, which include six Sorrentino’s restaurants, one Bistecca steakhouse, three cafés and three Buco locations including the newest.

Sorrentino’s head office houses a large kitchen for catering and cooking classes. They run classes as teambuilding exercises for companies, for private groups and for serious culinary students.

The openings follow a recent trend toward restaurant chains focusing on densely populated urban areas. Hrynyk described the Edmonton food scene as “blossoming” with lots of “young upstarts” and interesting businesses.

He has seen changes in diners’ tastes over the years. “People are much more knowledgable about food. They want authentic, interesting and honest food,” he said.

The group’s biggest challenge – one faced by many other Canadian restaurants – is in finding good pizzaiolos, said owner Rago, whose three sons are heavily involved in managing the business. Some of their staff come from the city’s Northern Alberta Institute of Technology (NAIT).


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