Stoked Wood Fired Pizzeria


Stoked Wood Fired Pizzeria, 2908 Tieulie Place, Shirley, BC, 778-528-3473,

 For surfers, still chilled to the bone after a frosty Sunday morning in the water, the drive back to civilization can often be desolate and lonely. But there’s a welcome new oasis for the road weary.

Roughly 60 kilometres west of Victoria, down the rugged, twisting and ultimately beautiful Highway 14 is Stoked Wood Fired Pizzeria. Anchored by the smooth talking, Bronx, New York-based chef Jim Symington, his daughter Meagan Symington and her boyfriend Oliver Woods, Shirley’s latest offering to the culinary arena is something few can argue with and even fewer will be able to resist. The trio of chefs are focusing on local, coastally inspired pizza inside a cozy space centred around a wood-fired oven, just south of French Beach Provincial Park.

Atop a concise menu is a pie worthy of its rustic locale. The Exotic

Mushroom and Spinach pizza is light enough not to slow down the athletic west coast types, but possess big flavour sure to keep pizza purists engaged. Topped with an array of mushrooms, some foraged in the nearby stands of towering trees—the pizza is a delight and one I hope will remain on the menu. Along with bright, light salad options, Stoked offers Spicy Pepperoni, Margherita, and Italian Sausage pizzas. Pies can be ordered on gluten-free dough and vegan offerings are also on tap.

The warm interior is full of coastal character. Recycled wood accents, photos of breaking waves on canvas prints and carvings etched by the same hands that mold the pizza, Stoked beckons to the creative and hungry

In a past life locals say the pizzeria’s location moonlighted as a post office and a general store, but predominately was a vacant or at least forgotten roadside stop. For years drivers would rush past a large sign with an ominous eagles head post on it. One of the predatory bird’s eyes had either fallen off or was so weather-beaten wasn’t visible. It remains unclear what the eagle had to do with a failed convenience store. The transformation into what exists today was no small feat. After purchasing the restaurant owners say community support helped them manage the metamorphosis. That included small neighbourly favours to huge gestures including regional firefighters helping them safely install a weighty wood-fired oven.

A tiny convenience store area still lines the back of the space stocked with camping essentials, snack and even locally made soaps. Along with warm helpings of comfort food, diners can also expect good conversation. Huge swaths of the island’s southwestern coast still remain in rare, but delightfully cellular-dead zones. Shirley is no exception. Dining in will mean harkening back to a pre-smartphone era.

The addition of Stoked to Shirley’s dining roster is a big move, but it’s not alone on the culinary map. The sparsely populated region is punching far above its weight with Shirley Delicious, Point No Point Resort, Sheringham Distillery, Cold Shoulder Cafe and now the community pizza joint. Still in its fledgling stage, Stoked plans to extinguish its fire for the deep, dark and rain-soaked winter months from January 1 to sometime in April.

Stoked is not your neighbourhood pizza parlour and because of its location it likely never will be. It’s tucked away in a far-off section of the south island down a winding and long highway, but know this: The pizza is worth the road less travelled. —Scott Cunningham

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