Our passion for Italian food can be traced back to our founder, Peter Boizot and his love affair with Italy. Unhappy with the pizza in London, he shipped over an authentic oven, knocked down a wall to squeeze it in, and opened our very first restaurant in vibrant Soho for what was, at the time, a radical venture. And it paid off. As the restaurant opened its doors, everyone from fashionable Londoners to the man in the street flocked to get a slice.
Many restaurants later, Peter is still central to PizzaExpress. The care and attention he put into the food and ambiance are still principles that we live by today.
PizzaExpress Fact File
- The first PizzaExpress was opened by Peter Boizot on Wardour Street in London’s Soho in 1965. It’s still serving delicious pizza 50 years later.
- PizzaExpress’ iconic Jazz Club opened on Dean Street in 1969 and has hosted performances from some of the biggest names in music including Diana Krall, Van Morrison, Dame Cleo Lane, Jamie Cullum, Tony Bennett, Charlie Watts and Sting.
- Peter and a talented restaurant designer called Enzo Apicella broke the mould by introducing PizzaExpress’ famous, open kitchens. Aiming to create a sense of theatre around the pizzaiolos who still stretch, toss and top each pizza by hand, customers get to enjoy the spectacle of their food being prepared in front of them.
- From the very beginning, PizzaExpress’ famous passata sauce has been made using Peter’s original recipe. Made to his exacting standards, a basil leaf is still placed by hand into each individual tin.
- Peter, a philanthropist, launched the Veneziana Fund. For every Veneziana pizza sold, 25p goes into the fund, which now stands at over £2million. Fifty per cent of the fund supports Venice in Peril in its bid to fund the restoration, repair and maintenance of Venetian monuments, buildings and works of art, while the remaining 50 per cent does the same for buildings in the UK that were built before 1750.
- PizzaExpress has 460+ restaurants in the UK and over 90 across a further 13 countries including India, China, the UAE and Saudi Arabia.
- PizzaExpress’ At Home range launched in supermarkets in 1998 and is responsible for sale of 34 million pizzas every year