British Columbia

Did's Pizza: Early '90s 'drunk-food' hot spot returns to Vancouver

If you were a connoisseur of early '90s "drunk food" after clubbing on Granville in the early '90s, you might remember Did's Pizza. Now, a new generation of Granville Street party animals will get to see what all the fuss was about.

Mr. Did spent 20 years serving slices in California. Now, he's back to where he got his start

Mr. Did himself, at his new Vancouver location at Dunsmuir and Seymour. His original location shut down in 1994. (Lisa Christiansen/CBC)

If you were around Vancouver in the late 1980s and early 1990s, you may remember Did's Pizza, the by-the-slice shop at Davie and Seymour that catered to the late-night, after-club crowd.

Did's closed in 1994, but just like many things from the early '90s, he's making a comeback with a reopened shop at Dunsmuir and Seymour.

"Mr. Did," as he's known, left Vancouver to start a chain near Venice Beach, California. But after a divorce, he and his kids moved back to Vancouver.

The original Did's Pizza was not a gourmet spot. In fact, it was best classified as "drunk food" for people getting out of the clubs on Granville.

"The way people used to eat pizza back then, it was after the night clubs, we had massive line-ups, like 1,500, 2,000 people," he told On The Coast's Lisa Christiansen.

Mr. Did says the early days were very hard. It was just him and his brother, Marco, both French ex-pats by way of Montreal struggling to run their own business.

"I opened my small pizza place, it was like 500 square feet, and the early days, it was terrible," he said. "I couldn't make ends meet. I had to work as a waiter at lunch time. It was very difficult time."

Mr. Did shows off one of his famous pesto pizza pies. (Lisa Christiansen/CBC)

Then, a few years later, opportunity came to his door, almost literally. The city's nightclubs were reorganized around Granville Street, and almost overnight, his business was booming.

"I went, oh my God, what is happening?" he said. "[It went] from a dead zone to an amazing place to be. So that turned out to be a great gamble."

His California days were successful as well, and his Venice Beach location attracted lots of famous pizza fans.

The walls of his new Vancouver location are adorned with some of those famous people, such as Rutger Hauer, Queen Latifah, then-President Bill Clinton and even then-Senator Barack Obama.

Still, Did says he doesn't plan on leaving Vancouver again any time soon.

To hear the full interview, click the audio labelled: Remember getting 'drunk food' at Did's Pizza in the early '90s? Well, it's back!

With files from Lisa Christiansen