Vancouver’s Nicli Antica Pizzeria + Bar has quickly become a local favourite since its opening in Wesbrook Village this past July. We sat down with the owner, Arash Fasihi, and got the full scoop on his story and how Nicli became a Vancouver staple.
Nicli’s Inception: A journey from Iran to Vancouver
Arash’s journey to owning Nicli Antica Pizzeria + Bar is filled with passion, dedication, and a deep-rooted love for pizza. Growing up in Iran in his father’s pizzeria as one of the first in the country, pizza has always been close to his heart, igniting a lifelong fascination with the craft. In 1996, Arash and his family moved to Vancouver, and his father bought a pizzeria on West 10th Avenue.
Fast forward — after Arash sold his highly successful e-commerce business in 2019, an opportunity presented itself to own one of Vancouver’s best pizzerias. And in 2021, as a resident of North Vancouver, he acquired Nicli Antica Pizzeria, knowing firsthand how incredible the food and dining experience were.
A certified top-notch taste
What sets Nicli Antica Pizzeria + Bar apart from the rest? Arash proudly mentions that Nicli is a certified pizzeria from Naples, adhering to the highest Italian standards as the first pizzeria in Vancouver to receive this prestigious certification. Unlike other pizzerias, Nicli doesn’t take shortcuts; their dough ferments for over 12 hours, resulting in an incredibly light and non-bloating pizza crust. Committed to excellence, they use only the highest quality, locally sourced ingredients.
Innovating the menu
Nicli’s menu is a testament to innovation and experimentation, and regular customers play a crucial role in shaping Nicli’s offerings. The chef created a vegan recipe as a feature, and based on customer feedback, it became a permanent menu item. If something is good and loved by their patrons, it stays on the menu.
Bringing Nicli to your kitchen — and everywhere else
But this wasn’t the end of the story for Arash. As it was during the era of the COVID-19 pandemic when restaurants were struggling to stay afloat, his entrepreneurial spirit led him to ponder a question: “How can I create high-quality packaged and frozen food for grocery stores?” He noticed that most frozen pizzas on the market compromised on quality, using subpar ingredients. “There must be a better way.”
Along with the dine-in restaurant, he aimed to redefine the frozen pizza market, infusing it with Nicli’s quality and taste. Knowing many meal subscription solutions often require you to play the part of a chef, Arash understands that not everyone has the time to cook from scratch. He created Munch which offers pre-prepped, 80% fully cooked frozen pizzas, providing a restaurant-quality meal at home without the hassle. Today, the frozen pizzas can be found in over 100 stores across Metro Vancouver. They even have a subscription service and deliver them straight to your door weekly or monthly.
Arash’s goal is to be part of customers’ food journeys, offering convenience without compromising on quality.
This vision led to more innovative solutions like the Fresgo vending machine, providing fresh, high-quality meals on the go. He also introduced Pronto, a storefront in Lonsdale Quay, where customers can enjoy Nicli’s signature pizza by the slice without the wait.
Nicli’s mission: Simplifying lives through food
Arash understands that food is not a destination, but a journey, and he wants to be a part of each step by simplifying people’s lives. He envisions food as a universal connector, bringing people together and indulging their senses. To achieve this, he credits his remarkable team, who pour their hearts and souls into creating exceptional dining experiences. Day in and day out, they strive to be the best at what they do, ensuring that Nicli’s food journey resonates with its customers.
The future of Nicli
Looking ahead, Arash envisions opening more Nicli locations across Metro Vancouver in the short term. He aims to continue being part of customers’ food journeys and believes each new location will help the brand gain momentum and become even better.
Nicli Antica Pizzeria + Bar is not just about serving pizza; it’s about creating memorable food experiences that simplify lives and connect people through their culinary journey. Arash Fasihi’s passion and dedication to the craft has undoubtedly made Nicli a Vancouver staple over the last few years, and with his future plans, it seems like this iconic pizzeria is destined for even greater heights. So, if you haven’t already, stop by Wesbrook Village and try the new Nicli location right here at UBC Point Grey 🍕