25 Sep 2017
5 min read
It’s no surprise that Nepal’s fast-food restaurants predominantly feature momos, burgers and fries. After all, they’re cheap, delicious and filling. Pizzas, on the other hand, are still considered something of a luxury item in Nepal. People often associate eating pizza with having to pay exorbitant prices. This mentality is exactly what Pepe Pizza aims to change.
Pizza as fast food
Pepe Pizza was established with the primary objective of providing pizzas at prices similar to that of other fast-food items in Nepal, without compromising on the quality. Pepe’s owner, Kaushal Timsina, believes that if pizzas were to be served at reasonable prices, they could very well become one of Nepal’s most popular fast foods.
In collaboration with Bhatbhateni
Pepe Pizza, in tandem with Bhatbhateni, was first established a year ago at Bhatbhateni’s Maharajganj branch. It has now begun operations from Bhatbhateni’s Anamnagar branch as well. Through this collaboration, Pepe Pizza is trying to tap into the diverse range of customers that drop in to shop at the supermarket.
Establishing the brand
Pepe Pizza’s target customers are the youth of Kathmandu, because its products’ price range falls well within youngsters’ budgets. To draw in more customers, Pepe Pizza regularly organises different events—like food fests at places like Trisara and ACE College—and sponsors inter-college futsal tournaments and fairs. It has also partnered with Foodmandu and Bhoj Deals to become more accessible to customers. Pepe Pizza doesn’t charge any service fee or VAT, living up to its commitment to provide quality pizza at reasonable prices. A typical meal of pizza and drinks shared between two people costs around Rs 500.
Pepe Pizza is a strictly Italian restaurant. Its menu consists of a wide variety of pizzas as well as spaghettis and risottos. The chefs at Pepe Pizza prepare their own pizza sauce and pizza bases, and they use gas ovens to bake their thin-crust pizzas. The ingredient they are most particular about is the cheese, which is supplied from Nuwakot, the same place that Fire And Ice Pizzeria source their cheese from. The chefs at Pepe Pizza experiment regularly with different ingredients and often try to create different combinations of flavours: they keep changing the menu every few months to make room for new creations. Some of their most popular pizzas are the Meat Lover and Chicken Heaven Pizzas while their most popular drinks are the Cherry Bomb and Sunset Strip Mojitos and the Mango Madness Smoothie, all of which happen to be in-house creations.
To provide for a great dining experience, Pepe Pizza allows customers to personalise their pizzas. The chefs even go out of their way to create a thick-crust pizza base if a customer doesn’t want a thin-crust pizza.
Behind the scenes
The head chefs at Pepe Pizza are Vir Bahadur Tamang and Bhim Raj Ghimire. Tamang, who studied in Budhanilkantha School and worked at Fire And Ice Pizzeria (in Kolkata and Kathmandu), has decades of pizza-making experience. Ghimire went through a six-month pizza-making training course in Itahari and also worked at Kolkata’s Fire And Ice Pizzeria for five years before joining Pepe Pizza. Both head chefs, who have around eight chefs working under each of them, believe that creating a good pizza is all about perfecting the minutest of pizza-making skills and knowing how to play with the ingredients. Before hiring any chef, the head chef trains the incoming chefs for a minimum of four months (regardless of their past culinary experiences) so that they can understand and successfully replicate the authentic ‘Pepe Pizza’ flavour.
(Photos by Anjan Dangol)