Tevie Smith is really a 75 12 months old restauranteur whom claims to possess brought the initial pizza to Vancouver within the 1950s
Steve Bosch/Vancouver Sun / The Vancouver Sun
Vancouver – Tevie Smith, 75, is sitting at an outdoor patio dining table in the beginning and Cypress court that is holding the sexcapades of their buddy Wilt Chamberlain, the giant rumbles at his drive-in restaurant in Richmond when you look at the 1960s and just how he brought the very first pizza ovens to Canada when you look at the late 1950s.
A lady 40 years their junior walks by, acknowledges him, and smiles.
“don’t think a word he claims!” she laughs.
Tevie smiles right straight back, then gets back into rotating their tales. And believe me, you can find great deal of these.
Tevie – everyone calls him Tevie – is amongst the great figures in Vancouver. He is been a restaurateur, a bouncer and a rounder, some guy that is been a fixture in some components of Vancouver tradition because the 1950s that are early.
maybe Not high tradition, brain.
“He’s the past regarding the Damon Runyon figures,” states one of his true oldest buddies, Basil Pantages.
“they can easily fit in anywhere, and merge because of the most readily useful of these, I would like to get to understand you’ feeling. because he comes down with that cheesy ‘”
Also you may have noticed him if you don’t know Tevie. He’s the man whom parks their old wagon that is woody a 1947 Chrysler Town and nation, from the road by Kits Beach. The car is hard to miss with a couple of steamer trunks tied down on top and sides made of rotting wood.
Old vehicles are one of his true interests. He has four convertibles – a 1964 Thunderbird, ’65 Corvair, ’65 Mustang, and a ’66 Beaumont – in addition to a 1930 Model A Coupe, a 1934 Packard, and another ’66 Beaumont.
They truly are the fruits of numerous many years of difficult labour.
“compose this down,” claims Tevie, who’s having a birthday that is 75th for 200 during the Smoking puppy Bistro Sunday afternoon.
“It is simple to succeed when you look at the restaurant company. What you need to complete is work 20 hours a time, 7 days per week, 364 times per year. Therefore the one you log off, Christmas time, you need to get in and also make yes the freezers have not gone off. day”
He understands of exactly just what he talks, for many years because he did it. He began employed by Nat Bailey at White place when he ended up being 13. After some duration later on he relocated to an accepted put called the Senator.
“I utilized be effective Friday evening, Saturday night, rest on to the floor upstairs within the banquet space and fall and run your kitchen without any help on Sunday,” he recounts.
He originated in a family that is poor but an entrepreneurial one: their older brother Ascher founded the Smithrite trash collection business. “He began the organization having a war-assets truck and $700 in veteran’s credits,” Tevie describes.
“He decided to go to Ca on a vacation and saw Dumpster Dumpster. The town of Vancouver did not would you like to get commercial trash, so he got to the trash company. russian mail order brides Plus he was at the navy with an other in control of the PNE. The PNE hated the town, him the contract for the PNE trash. so that they provided”
Tevie did not make because much cash as Ascher, but he most likely had more enjoyable. After he graduated from senior high school in Kits in 1951, he went along to bay area to head to restaurant college. Here he discovered pizza, that was all but unknown away from community that is italian.
He came back to Vancouver after he graduated in 1955 and made a decision to take to a pizza concession out during the PNE.
“You know where in actuality the Coliseum is, well, that has been a roller coaster called the Giant Dipper. We offered pissa – it- at the Roller Coaster for 19 cents a slice because they didn’t even know what to call. And trust in me, a bite was taken by them from it after which tossed it at me personally. They did not like to consume that stuff. We accustomed chase them along the midway.”
Tevie’s claim to function as the person that is first offer pizza in Canada had been disputed by their old buddy Ross Fillipone of this Penthouse cabaret, whom recently passed on. Fillipone said he imported the first pizza range into Canada for The Penthouse – and Tevie agrees. But he says Fillipone brought in the range illegally, and Smith’s ovens had been Canadian guidelines Association authorized, so Smith had the very first appropriate pizza ovens.
“the CSA that is only approval in Montreal,” he relates.
“These Mafia kinds – this can be a story that is true owned the oven business, while the bread business that made the crusts. These people were driving an range as much as Montreal to have it authorized, because I experienced a trailer load of pizza materials coming for the PNE. We earned 14 among these little countertop pizza ovens.
“they certainly were likely to machine weapon these inspectors. These were severe. ‘ exactly What have you been guys doin’? Place the stamp on!’ “
Tevie wound up starting up Vancouver’s very very first pizza restaurant, The Snackery, at fifteenth and Granville. He additionally had Chipper’s Drive-In at number 3 Road and Airport Method within the 1960s, back when Richmond “was a bad, bad-ass destination.”
“night was fight night, there’d be 400 kids out in the parking lot,” he says friday. “It ended up being amazing.”
Tevie managed a lot of the action himself. Although he is only five base seven, he had been a weightlifter, and quite a tough cookie, weighing 250 pounds (113 kilograms) in the prime. (he is 165 now.) He invested a long period being a bouncer at many different places, such as the old disco hot spot glucose Daddy’s.
“You possessed a battle,” he states of bouncing.
“You beat some guy up, he beat you up, whatever, you realize?”
Both in restaurants and in bars – Moose McGillicuddy’s, the Arts Club on Granville Island, the Pink Pussycat in Gastown over the years he operated numerous eateries.
But some of their escapades revolve around his years at the guys’s Athletic Club on Hornby Street, that was within the building that is same two nightspots, Charlie Brown’s and Sneaky Pete’s. It feels like there is a party that is continuous on in today’s world, an event that Tevie along with his stock promoter buddies such as for instance Herb Capozzi frequently took traveling.
“We accustomed get right down to Sun Valley every ” Capozzi says year.
“We took Tevie, that would fall in a truck that is big with wine. He would place it up near the top of the hill and provide champagne and drinks to everyone, and also have a time that is hilarious everyone get bombed from their brain and attempt to ski straight down. 1 / 2 of them got lost in the middle of the woods.”
Baseball legend Wilt Chamberlain had been an everyday at the guys’s Athletic Club as he found city, in which he and Tevie became friends that are close. Chamberlain endured seven base one ins tall, and stated he previously intercourse with 20,000 females. Tevie confirms that yes, indeed, Wilt The Stilt did actually have means with ladies, although their concept about how come a little too risquй for a family group newsprint.
Tevie ended up being as soon as hitched and has now three grown up young ones, but he is been a totally free agent for several years – he gladly exhibits a snapshot of their flame that is latest, that is 35 yrs . old. He is a charmer, having an endless availability of entertaining stories in regards to the hairdresser/prostitute who utilized to exert effort Howe Street, the loan that is notorious Jimmy Hill (who had been gunned straight down during the Hotel Georgia) and also the famous stock promoter Murray (The Pez) Pezim.
It is possible to inform he will offer you a great story whenever he says “this will be from the record,” or “You most likely can not print this.” Which occurs about every 10 moments during a chat that is 45-minute.
He retired from the restaurant company years back now spends a lot of their energy and time starting thrift shops for charities that look after pets, like the Wildlife save Thrift Store downtown.
He sorely misses their old buddy Fillipone, whom he played racquetball with each week. But generally, at 75, Tevie Smith is fairly content. He has home across from Kits Beach, he has got their stable of collector vehicles, he has got their dogs. Along with his memories.
“Life is great,” he states. “Life is truly good.”