As the Times Colonist duly noted, Alzu’s has closed it’s doors for good.
For better or worse, I knew what Alzu’s was. It was a 24 hour restaurant on Bay Street. Lets get one thing out of the way to begin with: Alzu’s was not fine dining. Are we good with that? Let’s proceed.
Victoria’s seen only a handful of 24 hour restaurants. QVs (still open, but not all night), Paul’s Motor Inn (same deal), Denny’s (still does as advertised), etc. As a night owl, a DJ who plays the latest of late night gigs, and a general coffee-consumer at non-traditional hours, I knew Alzu’s fairly well.
Alzu’s was home to all sorts of clientele. Headbangers from Langford, taxi drivers from all over town, skaters, Victoria’s version of thugs, some folks who were true believers that they were Vampires, World of Warcraft (or whatever online game – take your pick), and us, the pre-internet internet nerds.
I once saw Alzu himself in the restaurant. I asked if I could take his photo. He was confused as to why I would ever want to do that – it likely didn’t occur to him that his name was part of our freenet culture.
I wonder if the ownership of Alzu’s realized they were being talked about on the Victoria Freenet’s IRC (Internet Relay Chat) in the mid-nineties by a bunch of teenagers. We liked it because it wasn’t Denny’s, and it was pretty laid back and comically accessible. We knew the safe and unsafe menu items, we knew when the post-bar rush zoo would occur, and we would not likely be seen there when other things were open. But at night it was one of only a few options, and the ordinariness of a family restaurant was what attracted us to the place at night.
There was a waiter there that we referred to as Dave Babych, the ex Canucks hockey player, but he was not at all Dave Babych. His similarity was somewhat uncanny, at least it was to us, over and over again at 3 or 4 in the morning. He had a laugh that we believe he laughed at while laughing. Why do I bring this up? Because Alzu’s was that kind of place – home to characters.
If I went through my unposted digital archives, I could find quite a bit to post to an Alzu’s museum. Instead, I’ll leave you with this image to remember it by: