‘New’ Boston Pizza re-opens in Gravenhurst after being closed 9 months for renos

Mark Clairmont | MuskokaTODAY.com

GRAVENHURST — The “new” Boston Pizza has reopened after almost nine months closed.

It served up its first pie the Friday before Christmas.

Bartender Curtis Wood, who has been at BP six years, is happy with the bar and big new TV screens.

Ever wonder how BP got its name?

Well, according to co-owner Jim Treliving, it’s named after a a guy named Bill Boston who lived above the chain’s first restaurant in Edmonton.

True story.

So said Treliving, when asked a few years back, while he was speaking to Rotarians in Gravenhurst.

The former Mountie was a regular customer of Boston Pizza and Spaghetti House when Gus Agioritis opened in 1964.

Four yeas later Treliving became the first franchisee, opening a BP in Penticton, where he was joined by accountant George Melville. They bought the chain in 1983 and together they now have more than 300 stores Canada-wide. Treliving also moonlights as a startup investor on the Dragons’ Den.

From 21 types of pies to more than 200 menu items today, including the original “Boston Royal,” they’ve grown to include three restaurants in Gravenhurst, Bracebride, Huntsville and Orillia; the first two on water.

You can still get a pizza with crust made from Agioritis’s original recipe.

The “Royal,” while still on the menu, has been altered. The original recipe was pizza sauce, pepperoni, bacon, shrimp, olives, green pepper, onion, mushrooms, anchovies and mozzarella.

But no anchovies and no bacon, just smoked ham.

Cameron ‘DJ” Dunlop and assistant manager Kevin Hutcheson give the new kitchen renos two thumbs up.

The Muskoka Wharf site closed suddenly last April due to a broken pipe, says manager Stacy Semple, who along with some of the staff worked at the Bracebridge BP over the summer.

The Boston Pizza opened in 2010 along with the Muskoka Wharf

Company policy is to do a complete renovation every seven years, said Semple an hour before opening Dec. 21.

Opening day was “really good,” she said the following morning, “busy.”

Just a few usual glitches with the new computer system.

New Year’s Eve was also packed, with an afternoon birthday party and full reservations for dinner.

Assistant manager Kevin Hutcheson calls it “amazing,” especially the new fridges and freezers in the kitchen, where the fresh pizza dough was being kneaded by staff in the final minutes before opening.

And Jessica Vlietstra and MacKenzie Clark are also excited to be back on the job, where 36 of the 38 workers there last winter are back. There are 42 on staff, says Semple.

And other than that, it’s been business as usual, in the completely renovated restaurant that was gutted to the bare bones, amid unconfirmed rumours of mould and a lilting foundation, she said.

Otherwise, it’s all new throughout: tables, chairs, bar, kitchenware and freezers.

An entrance wall on the left has been opened up to expose more of the sports bar.

The food and menu remain the same and there’s “Happy Hours” 3-6 and 9-12 p.m.

Semple said franchise owner Tim Foley plans a grand re-opening later in January.

No word, yet, on whether Treliving will be here.

The last time he was able to combine his visit with round of golf at Muskoka Bay.

The way the weather is at the start of 2019, who knows how long before he can mix golf and pizza again.

Boston’s Pizza’s front entrance is a more open and visually inviting looking left into the lakeside sports bar.
The first Boston Pizza opened in 1964 in Edmonton at 124th Ave. and 112th St. with the same logo used today.
Original Boston Pizza and Spaghetti House owner Gus Agioritis invented his famous ‘Royal’ pizza.