GM Justin Syens discusses the “genuine and honest” new modern Italian restaurant concept, Piva
Opening in November 2017 Downtown New Westminster, the highly-anticipated Piva Modern Italian promises a refined, Italian-focussed dining experience. In our latest Industry’s Finest feature, we sit down with General Manager Justin Syens to talk about the project and what guests – and potential employees – can expect from the new restaurant.
What sets Piva apart from all of the Italian restaurants in the Lower Mainland?
Even though we are located just outside of Vancouver, we aim to offer an experience that rivals any Downtown restaurant. We offer a distinct and upscale dining experience while still remaining approachable. Our focus is food and we have put together and perfected a menu that we are very proud of.
What can your guests expect from Piva that they won’t receive anywhere else?
We look for opportunities to surprise our guests in ways they wouldn’t expect. We like to say “Yes” and will always do our best to do so in a way that works the best for everyone.
Why should those looking for a job apply to Piva? What makes Piva the ideal place to work?
We believe that we have a responsibility to provide a fun atmosphere where our employees are trained and supported to be able to do their best. We have high expectations but we will be right there with you to help you live up to them.
Tell us about Piva’s menu. Is the focus on traditional Italian plates like pastas, risottos..?
We are a modern take on Italian food. We use fresh, traditional Italian ingredients mixed with local selections. We have taken the opportunity to surprise our guests with a few very creative dishes and we have perfected a few of the [Italian] classics.
Talk about the bar program at Piva. Will there be any particular emphasis on wine or cocktails or beer or will it offer something for every palate?
Our focus is on wine and cocktails. We love wine at Piva and have meticulously curated a list we are very proud of; it follows our theme providing local selections and importing great wines from Italy. Our cocktails are influenced by all of the current trends in cocktails and our take on the classic Italian standards.
As General Manager, Justin, what impression do you want your guests to leave with after their experience at Piva?
I want guests to get a sense of who we are here at Piva, genuine and honest – that’s our food and that’s our attitude. We sincerely care about our guests – that is why we are all in this industry, after all. It is our pleasure to serve and cook for you.
Will Piva have a patio or other outdoor space that your guests can enjoy?
Yes, we will have a beautiful sidewalk patio featuring prime Downtown New West people watching.
Piva looks to have an enviable location Downtown New Westminster, on the Columbia strip near the quay, right on the Skytrain line. With all of the residential development in New West, it looks like Piva is going to be pretty busy!
We have been overwhelmed by the interest in this project. People are almost as excited for us to open as we are to open, and we are pretty darn excited! We have participated in a few community events and we have sold our menu out every time.
For those who apply for a job at Piva, what is the application and interview process like? And, if hired, when can candidates expect to start training?
We will be holding open interviews between 1-3pm on Tuesdays and 3-5pm on Thursdays at the Anvil Centre, the building the restaurant will be located in at 777 Columbia Street, New Westminster. Formal training depends on the position hired for and should begin mid-October. We will construct individual training schedules with those who are hired.
Are there any special perks that Piva employees will receive?
We are still working out the details on that but we will have a few creative things in place to let our employees know we appreciate their hard work.
Interested in working with Justin at Piva? Apply now
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