The nation’s best-loved pizzeria, PizzaExpress, this week, surprised and dough-lighted the people of Leeds with a series of showstopping displays by its expert pizzaiolos in celebration of its new pizzeria at the Merrion Centre in Leeds Arena Quarter.
The two-strong-flaring-team took to the streets of the city and showcased their skills in a series of impromptu performances. The light-hearted activity was set up to showcase the expertise for which PizzaExpress is renowned, and to mark the opening of the new sociable pizzeria at Leeds Arena.
Surprising passers-by with their impressive displays, the high-spirited duo replicated the theatre and excitement of the open kitchen at the restaurant on Merrion Way directly opposite the first direct arena.
Those lucky enough to have spotted the talented pair in action and posted the activity on Twitter found themselves in with a chance of winning a complimentary meal for four.
The new sociable pizzeria’s transformation builds on the original vision of Founder, Peter Boizot, and stems from his simple ethos: to bring people together over great pizza and good times through shared passions – food, drink, music and creativity.
Having used ‘open kitchens’ since before the term was coined, the kitchen has been repositioned to take centre-stage at the heart of the restaurant, bringing the theatre and authenticity of PizzaExpress’ pizza-making to the fore. Festoon lighting, decorative pendant light fittings and a ceramic tiled feature wall will surround the pizzaiolos at work, with white marble tables and vibrant green and yellow leather furnishings coming together to make the space warm and inviting.
The pizzeria is also one of the brand’s first to introduce a defined bar space, which has been co-created alongside lifelong partners Peroni Nastro Azzurro. Applying the same creativity to its cocktails as its pizzas, along with some of the classics, PizzaExpress will offer unique options including a new ‘Peroni Spritz’ which combines Aperol, grapefruit and the crisp taste of Peroni Nastro Azzurro and the ‘Bloody Mary’, which uses a base of the pizzeria’s fresh passata.
Diners and drinkers alike will be able to find their new favourites – just like they did when PizzaExpress introduced Peroni Nastro Azzurro to the UK, when it opened its very first restaurant in 1965.
The pizzeria will open with the brand’s new Spring menu. Combining barbacoa beef with smoky chipotle salsa, the new Barbacoa pizza will entice those with a taste for flavour that packs a punch, whilst the Vegan Mezze combines chargrilled aubergine, spicy harissa and creamy hummus to bring an Italian twist on a Mediterranean classic.
Graham Fenwick, Regional Director at PizzaExpress said:
“Our pioneering founder Peter Boizot introduced pizza to the UK in Wardour Street in 1965. Peter leaves behind a wonderful legacy, which sees friends, families and loved ones enjoying pizza and good times together in our sociable pizzerias, every day, across the globe. Some 54 years on, we celebrate the special opening of Leeds Arena – which is also among the first to test our new brand proposition. So, what better way to mark this celebratory occasion, than by bringing the art of pizza flaring to the streets”.
Helen Green, Associate Director for Town Centre Securities, owner of the Merrion Centre said:
“We are thrilled to welcome PizzaExpress to the Merrion Centre and are confident that the abundance of office workers, students, shoppers and concert goers within the immediate vicinity will relish in visiting the new look sociable pizzeria.
We have invested heavily in transforming this area of Leeds over recent years, and we look forward to this legendary brand welcoming existing and new visitors to Leeds Arena Quarter”.