A top local dining destination is changing hands

Cafe Brio's co-founders are retiring after 27 years

After 27 years of running one of Victoria’s finest dining experiences, Greg Hayes—the restaurateur in charge of several successful dining rooms in the city—is stepping down from Cafe Brio.

“I’m looking forward to waking up in the morning and saying: ‘I think I’m going to sleep some more,‘“ Hayes told the Times Colonist.

Cafe Brio, a rustic Italian restaurant with a menu driven primarily by local produce and seasonal goods, is considered to be one of the Island’s best dining experiences. Everything is made in-house from scratch, from the table bread to the cured meats that accompany an antipasto board.

The menu, made up of various pastas, grilled meats, seafood dishes and a heart-stopping array of cured meat options (let’s not even speak of dessert), constantly changes depending on what’s in season. Frequent visitors may find that their favourite dishes are no longer available upon each visit as seasonal availability changes, making each dinner fresh and exciting.

As for wine, the restaurant offers nearly 300 selections from across the globe with a strong emphasis on British Columbia. The drink list, just as with the food menu, is constantly rotating and evolving.

While Hayes is looking forward to another chapter in his life, Cafe Brio is here to stay. He and longtime partner Silvia Marcolini have sold the business to chef Sam Harris and bar manager Vincent Vanderheide in a deal that is expected to be complete in January 2024.

While Hayes and Marcolini will be missed, guests can rest assured that Cafe Brio will continue to provide an outstanding experience on the Island that will continue its legacy for years to come.

“In the coming weeks we will keep you up to speed on what to expect during the transition but rest assured, the food, ambience, service and staff that you have come to appreciate over the past (nearly) three decades will still be here under the same name with the same pledge of quality local ingredients and an ever changing, seasonal menu,” the restaurant wrote on their Instagram page.

“With amazing beverages, of course!”