Saveloys, spice and all things nice as quirky new South Shields pizza business provides a hit at seafront

A new start-up pizza business bringing a South Shields twist to the Italian classic is celebrating success in just its first few weeks of trading.

Monday, 20th December 2021, 4:32 pm
Jonathan Halling & Louisa Smith (founders of Ritrovo) with Cllr Mark Walsh at Ritrovo Pizza Takeaway.

What started out as a hobby during lockdown has turned into a business for Jonnie Halling.

Ritrovo is a quirky takeaway which recently opened on South Shields promenade serving Roman 'Al Taglio' inspired pizza slices with locally influenced toppings, along with a range of beers.

Co-founder Jonnie, who has spent the last eight years managing the factory at Minchella & Co, developed a love for pizza making during the pandemic.

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Jonnie's delighted at the success of his pizza business.

He has teamed up with Louisa Smith, owner of Smith's Seaview Café following the shared vision of growing a prom facing side of the business with a new and exciting concept.

Jonnie and Louisa are passionate about South Shields and are now enhancing the area's food offering by creating honest, artisan products and taking inspiration from other local businesses.

One example of this local influence is Ritrovo's use of a Dickson's saveloy in their Oi Oi Slice. The slice consists of an 80% hydrated and 72-hour fermented dough and a creamy bechamel base topped with caramelised red onion, Dickson's saveloy, deep fried sage and mozzarella.

Ritrovo has received an excellent response in its first few weeks of trading - selling over 192 slices on the opening day alone.

Jonnie said: "Over the last few years there has been a real movement in South Shields with the rise of independent food vendors who pride themselves with honest, artisan food.

"We're thrilled to be working alongside the likes of Wolfman's, Willie's Burgers, Bessie's Sweet Bakes, Up North Pizza, Zlich and The Harton Hop House - to name a few.

"It is important for us as a business to champion South Tyneside and the businesses within it.

"Like many, lockdown was a time to slow down and reflect and ultimately sparked my passion for pizza making - using the time to experiment and perfect the pizza dough.

"The initial response to Ritrovo has been incredible and we have ambitious plans looking ahead to 2022, with hopes of starting a delivery service across the North East and to collaborate with other local food businesses on unique pizza concepts."

Ritrovo is open Friday’s and Saturday’s 12pm-9.30pm and Sunday’s 12pm-8pm.

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