Our first ever restaurant

Spring, 1965 – Wardour Street, Soho, London: A nervous Peter Boizot awaits the delivery of his one-tonne, traditional pizza oven, together with his ‘pizzaiolo’, or pizza chef. Peter is wondering whether it will crash straight through the old wooden floorboards. He doesn’t get his answer straight away – because when the oven arrives, it won’t even fit through the front door.

So Peter and a few eager helpers got the hammers out to knock through the front wall. With the oven finally in, and a newly recruited manager and waiter, our pizza pioneers turned their attention to the building’s interior. It didn’t matter if the paintbrushes were poor. It was all hands on deck, with their enthusiasm and determination more than making up for their tools.

The grand opening

The doors were flung open to the public on 27 March 1965. Those strolling down Wardour Street could catch a glimpse of the iconic black and white striped shirts worn by pizzaiolos – a look modelled after the talented pizza chefs in Tuscany.

And what of the floorboards? Did they hold out? They not only supported the oven just fine – but also the daily queues of eager diners. You can tread them yourself with a visit to our first venue in Soho that’s still baking and serving pizza to this day.