One of the quirks of small town living is finding somewhere to eat. Normally, our meals are home made and made-from-scratch. Occasionally though, I like a break from cooking. For these times the options are fish & chips, burgers and pizza. In Ucluelet, Jigger’s fish & chips is the best and Surfside burgers in Tofino is outstanding. For pizza, Abondanzza is legendary.
But here’s the thing. We have to synchronize our expectations and appetite to the idiosyncrasies of the restaurants.
Take for instance fish & chips. Google says Jigger’s is open Tuesday to Saturday, 12pm to 7pm with options to dine-in or take-out. Dine-in is really dining outside on picnic tables in an open air patio. The business hours are correct except that they’re closed between 3:00pm- 3:45pm, sometimes earlier, sometimes later.
Surfside burgers are beefy wonders served with chunky fries and the roar of the ocean meters away. It’s ideal, so long as we’re not intimidated by giant black crows hopping around and beadily eying our fries. More than once I’ve channeled Dirty Harry in a corvid stare down.
“You’ve got to ask yourself one question:
‘Do I feel lucky?’
Well do ya, punk?”
The pizza at Abondanzza is legend. People rave about the crispy wood fired crust and tasty fresh toppings. They’re open everyday except Mondays and Thursdays between 4:30pm and 10pm except on Wednesdays when it’s 11:30am – 5pm. Except when there’re exceptions.
Many times we’ve gone within the posted hours, only to find the business closed. The small town grapevine being what it is, I’ve heard reasons for closure. They include staffing issues, family outings, being out of dough and ‘a good day for fishing.’
Once we tried phoning ahead to order pizza for pick-up. No one answered. Curious, we went to the place to see if it was open. It was, they were just too busy to take orders by phone. We ordered the pizza and was told it’d be a ninety minute wait, so could we come back then please. Another time we were lucky and arrived when they were open and it wasn’t too busy. We dined-in inside and it was only a forty five minute wait.
The other day I met my neighbor coming home from work, carrying a box of Abondanzza pizza. It was just before 5pm.
“It’s the best pizza around!” he said.
“How’d you get it so early?” I asked.
“I ordered ahead,” he said. “I sent in my order yesterday.”
So that’s the secret for getting great pizza when you want it. Order it one day in advance!