One more slice

After the first bite of artisan pizza inspired Susan and her husband John Canavan to bring the concept from the US to the UK, Project Pie is preparing to deliver its unique culinary experience to diners throughout the country

Project Pie was previously featured in FoodChain in August 2015 after the company’s first store opened its doors in February during the same year. In the 15 months since the artisan pizza concept was first introduced to the UK, the concept has proven to be a smash hit with younger and older diners alike and Project Pie has continued to grow from strength to strength. Indeed, the popularity of the restaurant’s ‘build your own pizza’ concept and the refreshing freedom of its ‘guilt free’ pizzas with their fresh and healthy ingredients, has enabled the business to quickly capitalise on the momentum generated by the success of its first store.

The next exciting chapter in the story of Project Pie is set to take place in Bromley, Greater London where the company is busy preparing to open its second store on 1st July 2016. The new store will be located within intu, Bromley as part of a £24 million investment in the busy shopping centre that includes significant internal remodelling of the centre and a new cinema. The investment into the intu shopping centre will also allow for the development of a new restaurant terrace alongside the historic Queen’s Garden, creating a picturesque al fresco dining experience. Despite being a relatively new brand, Project Pie will join established chains including Wagamama and Byron, which demonstrates the lasting impression the company’s unique culinary offering has had on both diners and the casual dining industry as a whole.

“The restaurant is situated in an annex overlooking Queen’s Garden and the area really is just beautiful. We have the great fortune of having some outdoor seating at the Bromley store, so we are really hoping that the summer weather will be nice because we have doors that open up and have views that directly overlook the gardens,” reveals Director, Susan Canavan. “In keeping with our Dundee store we aim to continue with the theme of an ‘industrial’ feel, while incorporating images and touches that are unique to the local area. The restaurant will of course be very comfortable and we want to embrace some quirky qualities as well as becoming an established part of the community.”

The July opening of the second instalment of Project Pie coincides with the opening of the intu Queen’s Garden development and several other casual dining branded restaurants, however Project Pie is keen to go the extra mile in marking the occasion. “We have a lot going on in the run up to the opening of the Bromley store. We have a lively marketing campaign and like many of the other restaurants involved in the opening we will have a number of offers on the day,” Susan explains. “However, because we are a new brand we will also be doing a little more. For example, we will have live music and hopefully some celebrity guests to really make the opening more of an event.”

Although the Bromley store will stick to Project Pie’s proven and mouth watering artisan pizza concept, the new restaurant will also introduce tempting breakfast pizzas and calzones the match to earlier opening times of the busy intu shopping centre. Of course Project Pie, Bromley will also offer the company’s delicious thin-crust pizzas made from special recipe dough and topped with the customer’s choice of an impressive range of toppings. All of the ingredients and toppings used by Project Pie are delivered fresh and the vegetables and other produce used are cut daily rather than arriving pre cut and frozen. This ensures great tasting pizza that is also ‘guilt free’ and healthy.

With such an extensive choice of dining options, Project Pie can really boast that it has something for everyone, including its unrivalled dessert pizzas and its hugely popular classic American Boylan’s soda – complete with free refills. “Nobody does the dessert pizzas that we do,” Susan exclaims. “We have so many options, including our banoffee, apple pie and smores pizzas, as well as ever popular ‘black and white’ and banana and Nutella options. We are also very proud of the high quality of the fresh ingredients in all of our pizzas that makes them a delicious and healthy option and customers continue to go crazy for our uniquely flavoured American style sodas.”

Project Pie was recently announced as the 2016 Independent Casual Dining Restaurant of the Year amid fierce competition, in what is a rapidly growing market sector. This recognition in conjunction with the brand’s growing presence is something that Susan has attributed to the restaurant’s unique cuisine and its dedicated and passionate staff. When asked what it takes to be a Project Pie Chef and the future of the business Susan concludes: “Nothing – just a smile and some Chutzpah!

Our staff learn to use the pizza oven very quickly and all of our employees are cross trained, so that they can fill every part of the puzzle from prepping in the kitchen to baking the pizzas. Moving forward, the challenge is always in finding new sites, the casual dining sector has grown so much and everyone is competing for the same sites and as a new brand we have to be perhaps a little more savvy. However, I think that our references from Dundee speak for themselves and we are looking forward to opening more stores soon.”