River Heights pizzeria gets new look but stays true to its successful roots
June 15, 2017
If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. Pizzeria Gusto, a popular River Heights destination since 2008, clearly didn’t need a big overhaul. A frequent fixture on Canada-wide best-of lists, the venue has recently undergone a slight expansion and a smart new interior redesign. At the same time, Jesse Friesen, who’s been head chef for over a year now, has tweaked the menu just a little while remaining true to the resto’s original mission — serving up some of the city’s best wood-fired pizza alongside modern takes on classic Italian cooking.
Calgary-based Frank Architecture, a young firm gaining a national name in restaurant design, is behind the new room, which has been planned with exquisite care to look elegantly nonchalant. There’s a mix of upholstered benches, chairs and tables, with high stools along the bar and another bank of seating looking out onto the street. The final effect is less like a formal restaurant and more like someone’s very cool dining room. And I would gladly take home the felted moss-green chairs and several of the ’70s-style Italian light fixtures.