For Innes Clark, starting a business wasn’t just about being his own boss.
“It was about designing the kind of place I would want to eat and hang out in, spend my days in,” says Innes, owner of Basta Pizza in Partick.
Innes had worked in the hospitality industry for many years, before making a career change to furniture design and construction when he was ready to start a family.
He grew to miss “the energy” of working in hospitality though, and with his daughter, Olivia, all grown up decided it was time to have a go at running a place of his own.
He found the perfect space in a neighbourhood he loved and took on the challenge of turning a derelict former charity shop into a pizza bar, relying on his combined experience in hospitality and furniture design.
“Everything from tables to the bar to shelves in the kitchen we essentially built ourselves,” says Innes.
Basta opened its doors in 2017, and is now run by Innes and his daughter Olivia, who has taken on the role of head chef.
“I was here from the beginning of the idea: from building to first service, and I actually started out front of house.
“That was interesting: the father/daughter work team took a while to develop,” says Olivia, laughing.
“Now food is my thing. I always liked cooking – I just learned the trade and learned to love it.”
Basta is known for unique and creative flavour combinations, mostly concocted by Olivia who likes to experiment with turning her favourite dishes, link Cullen Skink for example, into pizza form.
She says she learned a lot from Jane, previous co-owner of Basta, who Innes credits as a “very influential part of the startup process.”
Their staff now consists of family members, friends and customers.
“Most of the staff have been customers. We don’t need to put out ads,” says Olivia.
Basta also puts a huge emphasis on supporting local, growing their own vegetables in a community garden and working with other small businesses in the area.
“This bit of Partick is a village within the city, the idea of a circular pond – the guy that does the joinery work for us comes and spends his money here with his family having a night out.
“The same money goes around the community, and that really makes it strong,” Innes explains.
“We borrow stuff off each other, it’s a proper little village, something out of a kids book,” adds Olivia.
Both Olivia and Innes attribute their success to having a loyal customer base and achieving a good reputation early on.
“We got a magic review from Joanna Blythman very early on, and all the other mainstream press piled in after that.
“It really helped make us more of a destination.”
“And we are so lucky to have such a loyal customer base,” Innes continues, “people that we have really gotten to know.”
Olivia agrees. “Often if someone calls to place an order, I know it’s them before they even say their name.
“There’s such a pleasure in being able to be so personal.”
“Yes, our pizza is the best pizza Glasgow but you get more than that,” Innes says.
It goes beyond just getting to know the customers. Innes & Olivia have worked hard to create an inclusive space that’s accessible to everyone in their community.
“All our price points and our entry points are inclusive – Basta is for everyone.
“Our upstairs neighbour has lived above the shop for 50 years or something and will come and have her lunch everyday.
“She even keeps her walker in the basement. That’s the kind of vibe.”
“We just love doing what we do. We are passionate about it,” says Olivia.
- Basta Pizza is at 561 Dumbarton Road, Partick, and at https://www.bastapizza.com/. You can follow on Instagram or Facebook. Rhiannon Louden is a Glasgow-based photographer, podcaster and writer who helps small brands tell their story. Find out more at www.smallfishglasgow.co.uk or on Instagram and Facebook. Also listen to Rhiannon’s podcast here.