Thom Elliot of Pizza Pilgrims on opening at The Westgate in Oxford

When spirits legend, Arthur Shapiro said ‘No good story every started with a salad’ he wasn’t wrong.

In 2011, my brother James and I drunkenly doodled a picture of a van-come-pizza-oven in a desperate bid to ditch our 9-5’s. We had been brought up in hospitality, spending our formative years in the Gloucestershire pub The Fox that our parents ran.

Despite that, under pressure from the very same parents - we had found ourselves in “proper jobs” in London - and we wanted out.

Once the pub hangover rolled around it became pretty clear that we knew next to nothing about pizza, so we decided to embark on what would become the Pizza Pilgrimage. Two notice periods later we picked up Concetta, our trusty Piaggio Apé in Calabria and drove for 5 weeks through Italy to learn everything we needed to know about pizza, from how to create the perfect crust in Naples to the art of parmesan in Emilia Romagna and what makes the ultimate basil leaf in Genoa.

By the time we reached our Soho market spot in London, Concetta was kitted out with a pizza oven and we’d gained two stone between us. It was there that we started spinning dough for the masses and by August 2013 we were as ready as we’d ever be to open our first pizzeria, on Dean Street. But bricks and mortar didn’t stop Concetta, she still keeps the spirit of the pilgrimage alive by popping up at events like British Summer Time, The Big Feastival and Frieze Art Fair.

We’ve brought our signature combo of Neapolitan pizza, 90’s tunes and arcade machines to 6 different corners of London and now we’re really excited about our pilgrimage to Oxford. We both went to school in Oxford - so in many ways it feels like a homecoming! All our ingredients are shipped from in and around Naples to ensure we’ve got the freshest and the best, our dough is handmade daily by some of the best pizza chefs in the world (if we say so ourselves) and our oven runs at an authentic 480 degrees celsius – yep even in summer.

We are hugely excited to be opening in the Westgate centre and looking forward to becoming part of the community of Oxford. We are even running the Oxford Marathon (dressed as pizza slices) on Sunday 8th October. We can’t wait to have you all down to our awesome private terrace for hot pizza and cold beer soon. We will be ready and waiting!

Pizza Pilgrims

Westgate Shopping Centre

Oxford OX1 1TR