An award-winning Leamington pizzeria is reopening its doors to diners with a unique new look more than three years after the pandemic forced it to pivot into takeaway food.
We Love Pizza has unveiled the two-storey dining space above its take-out business, in Regents Place, in response to customer demand.
It marks a new chapter for Jose, Geanina and their team whose restaurant plans were thwarted just two months after the launch, in September 2020. Now they hope to build on the subsequent success of the takeaway business by welcoming customers back in.
Jose explained: “We are trying to take people on a multi-sensory journey, from the visual side through to music playlists and even scent. Every room has a different aroma, from woody to citrus. The different themes allow regular customers to have a new experience each time they come. The rooms range from Italian and Neopolitan and Amalfi coast through to more Industrial Urban vibes. Even the toilets have an exotic theme.”
He added: “The original plan when we set up the business was actually to be more focused on the eating-in service. When Covid hit we realised we needed to pivot and takeaway was a lifeline and, ultimately, a great opportunity.
“When things started opening back up after the lockdowns we were ticking over nicely on takeaways and the business was sustainable but people were always asking for a table. It got us thinking again. We always wanted to welcome people in, that is what we think we do best – showcasing our product, showing our hospitality.
“It was a great moment when we finally opened the doors again. We felt complete because we always thought that we were missing a piece of the puzzle here. Now we are delivering what we originally set out to, by welcoming people into our ‘house.’ We can invite people to come in full confidence that they will get an outstanding product at its very best.”The three vibrantly themed eating areas are the work of talented Leamington muralist Gemma Grao.
Gemma said: “We wanted to give each room its own personality, so that you each time you visit you have a different experience. From the traditional Italian lemon room, to the cool graffiti room and pizza oven, then to the tropical floral toilets…each room takes you on a different journey!
“We also wanted to tell a story on the walls, so to do this I created a timeline on the staircase to show the history of pizza making, and then one wall is painted with all of the traditional ingredients on, so you really get a feel for the history of pizza!
Jose and Geanina pride themselves on delivering ‘affordable quality’ to their customers by using only the best and most nutritious flour combinations and implementing exact temperature control and longer fermentation periods for the sourdough. Fresh ingredients are sourced directly from Italy – including tomatoes from the volcanic soils of Mount Versuvius – as well as locally.
Keen to support local businesses as much as possible, they count among their drinks menu south Warwickshire brands Windmill Hill, BRUBL and Napton Cidery.
Jose said: “It is the heart and science behind what we do that is the reason we’re passionate about it. Not only does it taste better, but is much healthier and much more digestible. We use less salt than most pizza restaurants and don’t use to refined flour anymore.”
The health and sustainability ethos is also evidenced in the restaurant’s partnership with the WaterAid charity. Sizeable monthly donations come from the sales of PH-regulated Kangen water which is both served at the table and used to make the dough.
We Love Pizza’s vegan and gluten-free products have also become a favourite but it’s the unexpected cutlery item as part of the table setting which piques most interest.
Jose explained: “We were inspired by one of the most recognised pizza chefs in Italy who uses scissors. Our product, especially our dough, is different from the mainstream pizza products – crispy on the outside and soft and airy on the inside, very light on the palette and thin in the middle. Scissors allow you to cut the pizza in a more efficient way without causing a mess and better showcasing the product. It’s much more practical but also a fun element. The customers love it.
“We offer something that is more personal and different than the mainstream. It’s this character and not being afraid to be different that reflects the ethos behind what we do and that we’re most proud of.”