See inside the new Up North pizzeria and deli that's proving a hit at Westoe Crown Village in South Shields

A pop-up pizza business that proved a hit in lockdown has opened its own sit-in shop – and it’s proving a sell-out success.

Up North Pizza Co built up a legion of fans serving Neapolitan-style pizza from its converted Sprinter van at locations around South Tyneside during the pandemic.

Now, owners Ashleigh Bonnar-Cross and husband Tim are welcoming customers old and new to a sit-in pizzeria and deli which has transformed an empty unit at Westoe Crown Village.

Just a month after opening, and the pizzeria has proved so popular that it’s sold out of pizzas on some Saturday nights.

Up North Pizza Co pizzeria and deli has opened at Westoe Crown Village

Dough is prepared in advance and left to proof for 24 hours to create a base with just the right amount of bubble and bite – so once the 120 dough balls made per night are gone, they’re gone.

Ashleigh said it’s been great to receive so much support for their new venture.

“There’s a great community vibe here,” she said. “A lot of our original customers from lockdown have been in, but also lots of new customers, which has been fantastic.”

Tim said: “In the first lockdown we were both on furlough and started doing the pop-up around South Tyneside and Newcastle, and continued in the second lockdown. It proved really popular, so we came to the decision to open something of our own and it’s all snowballed from there, it’s happened so quickly.”

Neapolitan-style pizzas are served at weekends

Pizzas are all standard 12in, with prices starting from £6.50, and range from a classic marinara to spicier options topped with nduja or chicken tikka.

The pizzeria side of the business runs on weekends, Friday to Sunday from 5pm to 8pm on a walk-in only basis for sit-in or takeaway.

You can also wash down your pizza with a good range of craft beers, from breweries such as Full Circle Brew Co, Almasty Brewing Co, Anarchy Brew Co, Allendale Brewery, Brew York and more. There’s also house wine options and non-alcoholic drinks available.

Meanwhile, the deli side of the business runs Wednesday and Thursday 10am – 4pm, Friday 10am to 3pm and Saturday and Sunday 10am to 2pm, with both sides of the business creating five new part-time roles.

The business has given new life to a once-empty unit

People can also sit in for coffees, as well as picking up cakes from Cake Stories with options including chocolate brownies, Oreo cake, Biscoff rocky road and more; pies and pastries from De Giorgio Butchers in Whitburn and sourdough from Bakehouse in Gateshead, as well as other artisan products.

Ashleigh said: “The deli side of the business is new and it’s still trial and error and seeing what products people want, but we’re offering things a little bit different to the norm. It’s great quality local produce, as well as imported Italian produce.”

Tim said: “We’re a really casual eatery, aimed at people eating on their own, to people on dates, families and dog walkers. We want people to pop in, have some great pizza, great coffee and great beer.”

The Up North Pizza Co van will also still be serving up pizzas as a pop-up for certain occasions.

People can also call in for coffees and cake

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There's a good choice of pizza, including a vegan and vegetarian option
A range of craft beers are also available
The deli side of the business is open Wednesdays to Sundays
Cakes are provided by Cake Stories in Hoult's Yard, Newcastle
Inside the new Up North Pizzeria & Deli at Westoe Crown Village.
Pizzas are made fresh to order
One of their pepperoni pizzas
Pizzas are served in boxes and can also be taken away