Long-time Vancouverites may recognize the location of Pepino’s as the former home of Nick’s Spaghetti House, a neighbourhood classic Italian Spaghetti House that shuttered in late 2017 after 60 years of business. The new owners wanted to pay homage to its heritage, but the former owner, Nick Felicella, wished to retire his name. Inspiration struck the owners in the form of a 1962 song by Italian-American singer Lou Monte called “Pepino, the Italian Mouse”. The discovery was a serendipitous one, with the playful ditty connecting to both Nick’s Spaghetti House: Felicella had owned a racehorse named Spaghetti Mouse, and the rascally rodent character in the song provided a perfect namesake.
The reimagined room maintained many of it’s original elements – overall, the atmosphere is warm, inviting, and nostalgic, with a dining experience that feels transportive, as if you were actually travelling back to the era that birthed Italian-American cooking. Glasfurd & Walker worked to create a fitting identity that felt like it had always been there. The mouse has been reinterpreted as a character that loves his wine, scattered throughout collateral paired with copy that is reminiscent of menus from the 60s and 70s where copy is obvious and to the point. The custom script for the word-mark references classic American-Italian restaurants guided, with gusto on the front of the building. Wine menus were made from leather that had sat in a menu binders’ workshop for the last 30 years, out of fashion and no longer considered but perfect for the project.