Oak Bay Beach Hotel opened a new pizzeria and tasting room called Faro on Wednesday.
Faro translates to lighthouse, or beacon, in Italian. The pizzas are cooked in a “wood-stone” style of oven using a paddle.
The restaurant is fully renovated and replaces the former Kate’s Cafe that closed in November. It’s open for takeout from Wednesday to Sunday, noon to 8 p.m., but will eventually have a 54-seat interior and room for 60 more pizza fans on the patio.
As restaurants around the province begin to let people back inside this week, the timing was right to finally open Faro although it’s only 20 days later than originally planned pre-COVID-19, said Anneke Feuermann, the hotel’s marketing manager.
The hotel’s popular Snug Pub will also open soon, hopefully, this weekend, Feuermann said.
“Faro had a very soft opening on the weekend, just opened our doors and [surprised] passersby with pizza, people who’ve been looking in the windows wondering what is coming,” Feuermann said. “Pizza is a perfect option for takeout so we felt it’s a good time to open.”
Faro’s menu will vary throughout the year and in addition to the pizzas will be salads, small bites, cocktails and local wines.
The hotel, which has been offering takeout meals and grocery delivers during the pandemic, plans to add delivery service for the pizza and to eventually create some breakfast style options on the menu.
“We know that a lot of restaurants are starting to open, starting today, and we’re looking to them to see what they’re doing and what works that we can also do,” Feuermann said. “For now, our takeout service is a slow ramp-up to opening the patio and inside dining area.”
When the restaurant does open its doors to patrons it will likely be limited to about 30 people outside and 16 inside, Feuermann said.
“We know that Kate’s Café held a special place in the hearts of many locals and guests alike, who have been patiently waiting since November to see what this transformation will look like,” said general manager Madone Pelan. “As with any change, we knew it would come with its own set of challenges, however, we did not expect our re-opening to coincide with a global pandemic.”
The hotel dedicated its resources to opening the restaurant as its other amenities remain closed, Pelan said.