We were asked earlier this year to provide some answers to questions that were eventually going to make up an article in Crumbs magazine about the burgeoning pizza scene, especially in Bristol and Bath. Here's the questions and here's our answers in full, only a few soundbites made it to the article. Tuck in.
The local pizza scene has exploded in the past year or so - why do you think this is?
Yes it has and sometimes the place feels almost saturated with pizza joints, everybody likes pizza, right? I think pizza is seen as a great leveller, a classless fast food that in times of economic downturn and political uncertainty is accessible to all, comforting, easily shared, a satisfying full meal at a reasonable price. Pizza makers are heading to regional areas of conurbation that are open minded to new ideas, that seem to care and love good food and that have an existing burgeoning food culture. Why not, you've got to give yourself a fighting chance. However everything is cyclical, it's easy to make pizza, harder to make great pizza, competition is good, the wheat will remain, the chaff will disappear.
Until this new wave of pizza places, high street chains like Pizza Express have dominated the market - what does your restaurant offer that chains don’t?
We're inspired by the pies of Naples and New York. We're professional artisan bakers with a wealth of experience. We've won awards for our sourdough and we know and love pizza. We're not a faceless company, it's our business and you'll find us at the point of the spear running the show, chatting to our customers while they watch us make their pizza. We're a super cool speedboat compared to the chains boringly huge oil tankers, we can mix it up, move fast, change our pizzas daily, use whatever ingredients are good that day compared to the same stiff menus you see in the usual suspects. We're quick but we're not making fast food.
In a competitive and crowded market, how and why does your restaurant stand out from the crowd?
We're small and fast and mobile. We can do whatever we want on our own terms, take our pizza anywhere where people want it. We do our own thing and we do it well. We know dough (our bases are a three day fermented sourdough) and we know what to put on top of it. We couldn't find a good vegan mozzarella so we made our own, we couldn't find a good vegan sausage so we made our own, we thought your average wood-fired oven looked boring so we threw a 1950's teardrop caravan around ours, our branding is bold and we're forging a new path making the finest vegetarian and vegan pizza you'll find anywhere. We do what we say, then we do it again even better. Saving the planet one pizza at a time.
What are your bestsellers?
We only serve vegetarian and vegan pizza and there's no getting away from it, most people love meat. This is good though as we're trying to show through pizza that it's possible to cut down on the meat in your diet and still eat amazing food. We use plant based meat alternatives that quite frankly when we prepare it you can't really tell the difference between flora and fauna. PERSUASION BY PIE.
We have a pizza on the menu called the 'Proper Job' which is based around a spicy vegan fennel sausage we make ourselves, we tried to swap it out with another pizza as our menu is always changing depending on the season we're in, day of the week it is, what's available and how inspired we feel; bad move, people were marching in Bristol demanding it was put back on the menu, it's now one of our regulars, here to stay, going nowhere.
How price dependent are your customers?
We sell quality pizza made with quality ingredients for half the prices you'd expect to see in a bricks and mortar gaff, so it's attractive to our customers. Our customers are cool, decent people that even in these tricky financial times know they are getting something of value when they part with their hard earned cash to buy one of our pies. At the end of the day we just want to sell quality reasonably priced pizza. No pretences, just us doing our thing.
Flour, water, salt, yeast - pizza making sounds easy, can anybody open a pizza place now?
Yeah, sure, throw your hat into the ring..but if you don't have the passion, dedication, knowledge, experience and lust for crust, it'll soon be followed by your towel.