Aileen Shipley the response to Graffito Pizza has been great, especially since their move to the Annex. (Jasper Myers / The Free Press)

Graffito Pizza lights a fire in the pizza game in Fernie

Aileen Shipley brings wood fired pizza to the community

Graffito Pizza brought wood burning fire pizza to Fernie last year at The Royal and now has a new home next to Earth’s Own Naturals in the Annex.

Aileen Shipley, co-owner of Graffito Pizza, said after the closure of The Royal, where Graffito had been more of a ‘test kitchen’, they spent the spring trying to figure out where to go next before finding their new home.

Shipley said that at their new location there was more foot traffic, with the added bonus of being next to a cannabis shop – because people go in there and realize there’s pizza available too.

Graffito operates out of a trailer and specializes in Italian Neapolitan style pizza and Shipley said it’s much different than the traditional North American style pizza offered in Fernie already.

“Italian cooking is very simple in its ways and Italian pizza is no different,” she said.

“We saw the wood burning fire pizza, it is very different than what other people are doing in town, as well as the Neapolitan style.”

Shipley said they had considered a brick and mortar shop early on, but it wasn’t the right time.

“That was the original part of the plan – to do the test kitchen at The Royal and then find a location – but with all the unknowns of COVID and restrictions this seemed like the next best, smart stop,” said Shipley.

“We’re pretty happy here and with what we’re doing right now.”

However, Shipley said they’re considering building onto the trailer so they can make the winter work.

“We may build onto the back end of this (trailer) and get a bigger oven and take it from there,” Shipley said.

The idea for Graffito Pizza came while Shipley was working in an Italian restaurant in Calgary just before the pandemic.

“COVID called for creative business ideas,” said Shipley.

So she said she came back to Fernie and sat with her business partner, Guy Lee, and they started Graffito.

As for the name, Shipley said the idea was inspired by a mural at The Royal, so the businesses’ time at the Fernie institution is certainly not forgotten.

“It is graffiti-esque and so sort of got the idea there,” she said.

“Googled graffiti, it turns out it’s an Italian word and graffito is the singular version of that word. And it’s art and we see our pizza as art.”

READ MORE: The Royal Bar: the end of an era
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