Proud. Obsessive. Stubborn.
It all started with Peter. Gloriously unique. Proud to be different. Peter Boizot didn't just break the mould. He knocked down entire walls. He brought great pizza to Great Britain. And a great deal more besides. So he's much, much more than our founder back then. He's still our inspiration today.
In the beginning...
To understand us, you need to know Peter. He was just a schoolboy when he first fell in love with pizza. Later, though, he spent years pursuing this obsession on his travels. So many jobs. So many cities. Except for London, where great pizza just did not exist. There was only one thing to do. PizzaExpress was launched in 1965. In Wardour Street. And in chaos. His Italian oven was too big for the door. So he knocked down the wall. Oven in. Oven on. And so it began.
Two years on, Peter had met Enzo Apicella. An amazing artist. A visionary designer. Two people with shared passions. For beautiful music, stunning design, unique experiences and exceptional food. Decades later, those passions still inspire us. Particularly when we shake things up. Because knowing where you come from is the best possible guide to where you should go next.
We've taken live music around the country. We've worked with amazing talent. Famous names like Tony Bennett, Charlie Watts, Sting and Amy Winehouse. New talent, too. We're always looking for the Next Big Thing. So we launched The Big Audition and asked you to be a judge. Then again, perhaps it's right in front of you. Like Norah Jones or Jamie Cullum. Playing away in the Jazz Club in Dean Street. Before their big break. For just £50 and some free pizza. They know, you see. About pizza and live music. How well they work together. As closely as a chord.
It all began with Enzo Apicella. He designed our second restaurant, in Coptic Street, near the British Museum. He's done a lot more since then. And each time, he pours in the same love, care and attention to detail that our Pizzaiolos devote to our food.
The principles and passion for great design that underpinned Enzo's work still guide us all today. He's not as young as he was. But he's certainly still got it. So now and again, we invite him back. It means he can bring his unique vision to some special projects. Like Richmond. Here, we created our Living Lab. A proper restaurant. But also a special space to try out new ideas. Food. Service. And, of course, design.
But it's not just the space that Enzo creates. It's what sits within it too. Yes, the food. But also the art. Promoting great art is part of who we are. Take Peter Blake. A true legend. Better still, a great friend. He donated 26 pieces to our Chiswick restaurant. They still hang there today. In fact, every restaurant is a mini gallery, showcasing the best local talent. So next time you're relaxing with a coffee or some wine, look around. Inspiration is closer than you think.
What makes an experience truly special? Is it the place? The people? Is there some secret recipe? What do you think? For us, it's a magical combination marked 'all of the above'. But particularly the people. And that makes us happy. Very happy, actually. Because we've got the best. They're beautiful, yes. Stylish, of course.
But always in their own, unique way. No service by the numbers for us, thank you. We want our people to shine. So although they wear our stripes with pride, uniform they are not. They do things their way.
Ultimately, it's all about the food. How could it not be? After all, Peter's love for pizza is where it all began. It's the same today. Pizza. It's what we do. Really well. So in our kitchens there are no fryers, no microwaves. Just an oven. Everything on the menu must work around that. Take our fudge cake. It's baked on site in the oven as it warms up every morning. And in front of our ovens, you'll find our Pizzaiolos. Our heroes. But they have to earn those stripes. That's why we give them 12 weeks' training. Because get these details right and everything else will follow.
That attention to detail isn't easy. It's hours of work each morning. The dough needs proving. The vegetables need chopping. Because when you're working with the finest, freshest ingredients, there's no short cuts.
Which means that every item on our menu needs to earn its place. So sometimes your favourite might have gone missing. Don't worry. It's probably not for long. And when it returns, it'll be better than ever. That's a promise. But you can help too. Tell us what you love. Why is it so special? And how could it be better?
And that, in a page, is us. We owe a lot to Peter and Enzo. Just like them, we're natural enthusiasts. And, like them, we love beautiful things. Since we first opened, much has changed. And that's fantastic. Peter and Enzo loved shaking it up. Trying new things. We're just the same. Because, like them, we know who we are. What we are. And we're nuts about pizza. Beautiful pizza. Always served in style.