Chef Will Lucas’ Classic Italian Pizza has Community Appeal at Cotto Enoteca in Burnaby

By Brittany Tiplady

The age-old motto “first we eat, then we do everything else,” rings true at North Burnaby’s modern Italian nook, Cotto Enoteca Pizzeria. Serving up generous portions of modernized Italian cuisine, Neapolitan VPN certified pizza, and wine on tap, Cotto Enoteca is the perfect spot to indulge in a bevy of carb-loaded menu options made with sustainability in mind.

Cotto Carbonara at Cotto Enoteca

In true west coast fashion, this pizzeria engages in some unique, eco-friendly initiatives including QWater (filtered water, eliminating bottles), Ocean Wise seafood, and choosing to source their ingredients, specifically produce, locally.

Found on the corner of Hastings and Fell, this Italian joint aims to “[Showcase] the best of BC and Italy, [marrying] the traditional techniques of Italy with the best of local, seasonal, and sustainable ingredients.” Still wondering what Neapolitan VPN certified pizza means? This authentic seal of approval is awarded to restaurants by the Naples-based Associazione Verace Pizza Napoletana; only upon official observation is a pizzeria eligible for the title.

The patio at Cotto Enoteca

Chef Will Lucas has been with Cotto Enoteca since it’s opening four and a half years ago. He runs his kitchen with a sustainable and community-minded focus, presenting dishes that are abundant with flavour, and indulgent in size.

Chef Will Lucas of Cotto Enoteca

Q: Cotto Enoteca focuses on eco-friendly initiatives. Can you expand more on that?

A: I try to keep everything local – I love to support the local farmers. I get all my fish from my fishermen, instead of ordering from big box companies. I firmly believe in going back to the local people, I’d rather keep the money in the surrounding industry. It’s way better for the customer to get food that’s locally produced here and keep the dollar in British Columbia. And the vegetables that you get from local farmers are so much better. Anything you get from a big box company [abroad] won’t compare to the food grown in BC.

Q: With such a saturated restaurant industry in Metro Vancouver, how does Cotto Enoteca stand out amongst the rest?

A: We are one out of only four or five restaurants in the Lower Mainland that are VPN certified. Also, 95 per cent of the food we make is made in-house. We have a commissary kitchen in the back so we make all of our own tomato sauce, and our meatballs, and we make our own cannelloni. It’s great, and it helps newer people coming in to the industry learn how to make everything in-house.

Q: Where did you earn your culinary chops?

A: I’ve been in the industry for about fifteen years now. Before this, I worked for Glowbal Group – it was very exciting having so many busy, successful restaurants and I learned quite a lot from being there. Before that I worked in major hotels in Vancouver: Hiltons, and the Fairmont Waterfront, which is where I started working with some great local farmers and building those relationships.

Q: Any particular stars of the menu?

A: The beet salad is a wonderful starter. The carbonara pasta is one of the most popular ones. As for pizzas, I would say, the Di Spagna pizza is really great if you are looking for something different, or the Diavola.

Beet Salad at Cotto Enoteca

Q: For those wanting to check it out for the first time, what’s the vibe at Cotto Enoteca?

A: Our restaurant is always up and coming, we are always growing and welcoming new guests. Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays, it’s a really fun place to be. We encourage you to come out, and enjoy locally grown food, and try new restaurants in the lower mainland.

Cotto Enoteca Pizzeria
6011 Hasting Street, Burnaby, BC
604-299-8002
cotto.ca