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Voters deliver title to Jim's
Serving pizza for 25 years has earned Jim’s Place a prestigious title – Vernon’s Best Pizza.
Online votes were collected for a month through The Morning Star contest which featured seven local restaurants and pizzerias.
Although all equally tasty, Jim’s Place came out a slice above the competition, which included: Casa De Mario’s Pizzaria and Donair, The Longhorn Pub, Panago, Monashee’s Bar and Grill, Billy D’s Family Restaurant and the Italian Kitchen Pizzeria.
Jim’s Place wasn’t the only winner, the Taylor family also earned themselves a $200 gift certificate to Vernon’s Best Pizza just for voting.
“I think we’re the longest surviving non-chain restaurant,” said Lorne Beckett of the 25-year-old business which he bought off Jim Galanis two years after the first pie was served.
Partner John Green adds: “KT’s was but they changed their name (now Billy D’s).”
While some pizza restaurants have moved to a conveyer oven, Jim’s still believes in the “old school” slate ovens.
“It’s a nicer result,” said Green of the process which is longer but worth the wait.
Fresh ingredients are also an important staple to the product.
“All our dough is made in house,” said Beckett, a former chef from Vancouver who runs the business with his wife Jennifer and Green, who joined the partnership four years ago.
Nine staff members work in the restaurant near the top of hospital hill in Vernon (1600 32nd St.), including their long-serving cook, Aaron Therrien.
“We’ve had this guy cooking pizza for 15 years,” said Beckett.
The current location, which they own, has served the business well, since moving from 30th Street 10 years ago.
“It’s a great summer time location,” said Green. “The army camp is huge for us.”
The addition of ice-cream at the former drive-thru, plus the popular pizza by the slice and additional favourites have also served them well.
“It’s shown a real steady increase in the last four years,” said Green.
Although the restaurant is true to its roots of old-school cooking and quality, fresh ingredients, it has also adapted to changing times.
Gluten-free and vegan crust options have proven popular, as well as a new online presence.
“We just started online ordering about a month ago and it’s been really good,” said Green.
A bigger social media presence has also drawn attention, although Beckett admits it’s been a challenge for him.
“I’m old-school, I can barely type,” he smiles.
But he enjoys paying some of their success back to customers through such avenues as pizza giveaway every Friday.
“We’re giving back to the community.”