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How does the song go… Some guys have all the luck… that’s the one…

I’m talking about two crazy brothers who have just completed their second pizza pilgrimage to, yep, you guessed it, Italy.

Pizza Pilgrims

And what did they travel on? A Vespa-powered sidecar outfit built in Britain by Watsonian, of course.

James and Thom Elliot, founders of Pizza Pilgrims, headed off on their first pizza pilgrimage in a three-wheel Piaggio Ape van in 2011. The restaurateurs then decided to embark on a new adventure last year, to celebrate the 10th birthday of their first UK pizzeria.

Pizza Pilgrims

The brothers visited Watsonian Sidecars and asked them to build an outfit that could carry a passenger, but also convert into a working pizza kitchen when parked.

“Since the company was founded in 1912 we’ve built thousands of tradesmen’s outfits for all sorts of jobs, including ice cream sellers, milkmen and even firemen,” says Watsonian Managing Director Ben Matthews. “A tiny pizzeria is definitely a first and something totally unexpected.”

Pizza Pilgrims

An Italian Vespa GTS300 scooter – already a popular choice with sidecar customers – was selected to provide the power. The development team at Watsonian started by attaching their Platform Chassis, then fitted the Grand Prix sidecar bodyshell, which is similar to the design supplied for filming of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows.

www.watsonian-squire.com

Next, they set to work adapting the sidecar body to fulfil the brief: a tubular steel rack was engineered, to sit behind the scooter and carry a Gozney restaurant-grade portable pizza oven. To transport ingredients, a specially designed box was CNC-machined from HDPE thermoplastic and precision fitted over the sidecar boot. Solid oak worktops were then fitted on top of the box. These fold out over the passenger cockpit, providing plenty of workspace when cooking.

Pizza Pilgrims

Finally, bespoke carriers for the pizza peel and cutter were bolted on to the sidecar.

James and Thom set out on their whistlestop 10-day trip to Italy in the Pizza Vespa last July, visiting icons of the Neapolitan pizza scene, as well as suppliers and friends they’ve made over the last 10 years. If you fancy following the Pizza Pilgrims progress, check out the series of videos on their YouTube channel at https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLJifPKB1j7X4xe8s3gyRutsuZPOkfdwWC

Pizza Pilgrims

Like most good ideas, Pizza Pilgrims started in the pub in 2011. Street food was just taking off and London was being treated to new and delicious food, all from the comfort of the pavement. Brothers James and Thom wanted in, and they wanted pizza. Traditional, unbelievably delicious Neapolitan pizza, to be precise.

They decided to fly to the toe-end of Italy, pick up a three-wheel Piaggio Ape van and drive the 4,500km back to London, stopping off along the way at all the best pizza destinations. The pilgrimage, as it became known, was born.

After learning all they could about the true art of pizza making, they began serving their pizza at London’s famed Berwick Street Market. The first Pizza Pilgrims permanent pizzeria launched in Soho in 2013, and they now have over 20 pizzerias across the UK. Their newest pizzeria opened in Leeds on Monday, November 6, 2023.

  • Watsonian Sidecars are located near the Cotswold village of Blockley. See their full range of sidecars at www.watsonian-squire.com

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