Piatto’s authentic Italian pie 11 years in the making

Posted on June 18, 2021 | By Alexander Chafe | 1 Comment

Brian Vallis opened the first Piatto Pizzeria in St. John’s, N.L. in 2010. Two years later, he expanded to Halifax; today, there are eight restaurants across Atlantic Canada and Ontario.

How it All Began
When asked about his inspiration for this venture, Brian mentioned two things: Growing up with pizza Fridays and travel.

By trade, Brian is a media consultant. This took him around the globe, where he developed a taste for authentic Italian cuisine. Three things that particularly caught his attention were Italian wine, hand-pulled coffee and genuine Neapolitan pizza. Not able to find this at home, Brian saw a unique business opportunity.


Piatto Pizzeria location in Cambridge, Ontario


An Authentic Dining Experience
Piatto was the first pizzeria in Atlantic Canada to become VPN certified by the Associazione Verace Pizza Napoletana—a not-for-profit founded in 1984 to protect the authenticity of Neapolitan pizza making.

This hard-won certification demands dedication to fine-quality ingredients like Tipo 00 flour, fresh yeast and San Marzano tomatoes, together with exacting specifications for the pizza-making process. But this authenticity makes a difference and sets Piatto apart.


VPN certified Margherita pizza


Expanding Business Line
What started as a dine-in only pizzeria, has grown. The first natural progression was takeout. And from there, expansions included other ways to enjoy true Neapolitan pizza at home.

Pizza kits started as a small experiment. But once the pandemic hit, it was all in. This has expanded to include salad, pasta and cookie kits. So, families can enjoy a piece of Piatto and an entertaining experience in the comfort of their own home.

In 2014, Piatto started experimenting with new menu items by making a burger for Burger Love in Charlottetown. A burger kit has since been added to their product line, for families who like to barbecue in summer instead of cooking in their kitchen. And the next product in the works is pre-made vacuum-sealed pizzas, for those looking for convenience.


Brian with daughter Jay and friends Nate and Kera Lessnick on opening day of the Cambridge location


A Family Affair
Piatto is first and foremost a family business. After years of traveling for work, Brian cherishes the opportunity to work with his wife and three kids.

Family is also a major aspect of Piatto’s environment. When Brian set out to create an authentic Italian dining experience, he wanted a place where he could bring his wife, mother or daughter. His vision resonated with staff and loyal patrons who now count themselves as welcome members of the growing Piatto family.

This is also reflected in Brian’s management style through a coaching mentality that encourages continuous improvement. In business, Brian’s motto is “do the right thing, do the things right, do the best that you can do.”

Remarkably, Brian has built an authentic family dining experience in Atlantic Canada, where patrons can enjoy Italian pizza, coffee, and wine at an affordable price. Bonus: No air miles required. •

About Flashback Friday: Every Friday, we’ll take a virtual trip back in time to a person, place or thing that was in the news. Could be a headline, could be an ad, could be a business expansion. Our only criteria are that it must be related to business in Atlantic Canada and must be at least 10 years in the past. Have an idea for a #FlashbackFriday? Email [email protected]

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