COURTENAY, B.C. – The Guerilla Food Company is closing its doors. However, fans of the Courtenay-based business will still be able to enjoy their delicious pizzas.
Owner Jason Uglanica said they are moving to a new space on 5th Street in downtown Courtenay, to serve as a stand-alone pizzeria. Currently, the business serves its pizzas out of Gladstone Brewery.
Uglanica and staff manage all that while operating the frozen food business at the same time.
“It’s been the passion project for the last four years, but as we moved into the pizzeria at Gladstone, it was taking a lot of time and we just kind of shifted our focus a fair bit here,” he said.
“I had to do a bit of adulting and make a decision about whether or not we can handle doing the Guerilla Food Co., which takes a lot of care and attention, and manage potentially opening up a full service pizzeria.”
He said they have recently finished signing off on a lease for the new space on 5th Street, to move the current pizzeria out of Gladstone Brewing into a full-scale pizza restaurant in the downtown core.
“We’re going to put something else in at the Brewery, so we figured if we’re going to do these things, we’re going to have to plan to look at the bigger picture and pick some, because we can’t do all three (Guerilla Food Co., the pizzeria at Gladstone’s and a separate full-service pizzeria).”
Uglanica said they have been planning this project for months.
The new pizzeria, with a full kitchen setup, will be located at 444 5th Street, the former home of the Mad Chef Cafe and Vibe restaurants. Uglanica said their plan is to replace the Gladstone pizzeria with a small foods service, starting with tacos.
“Originally, when we started doing our pizza stuff (at Gladstone), we had opened up our taco shack a couple times. It was supposed to be the idea of a transition, that if this worked out well (the pizzas), we’d move it out and we would try doing something else, and the tacos seemed like a nice fit,” he said.
“I also think it’s going to be a really good thing for the brewery because you will get smaller bites and more hand-held stuff and different price points. For pizzas, not everyone wants to sit down for a full pizza for lunch for themselves, but we’re hoping to create more a lunch atmosphere, and it allows us to play a little with smaller items. It’s gonna be tacos but it’s not going to be restricted just to that.”
He said they’re hoping to have the taco service start up at Gladstone “fairly soon”.
“It’s an easy transition for us to do,” he explained.
“We’re hoping that anywhere between six to eight weeks from the middle of April to open up the pizzeria.” Uglanica noted that they’re going to keep the name ‘Pizzeria Guerilla’ for the restaurant.
He said they are going to take all the gear they have at their current space into the new space, saving them from having to purchase new equipment. He believes they will be able to get into the new building by the end of April.
As for concerns raised about gift cards, Uglanica said people who have their names on file with the Guerilla Food Company will be contacted on how they can use their cards.
“Anyone that currently has one (gift card) that’s outstanding that is not on file in the shop, we will absolutely look after them any way we can,” he said.
“Whether it’s coming in for food now or whether it’s reimbursing them through our pizza service, or even if they want to hold out for tacos, it’s all up to them.”
Uglanica is inviting residents to swing by the current shop at 534 5th Street to make any final purchases for products they still have on site.