“The new pizzeria has been aptly nicknamed The Tardis,” says Patrick Ward, 35, co-founder of Edinburgh’s Pizza Geeks. “While The Mothership has limited space, the new restaurant has seating for up to 40 - when life is back to normal - and a small but supremely well-equipped bar”.
The team, which also includes co-founder Finlay Clarkson, 31, has just moved into their newest and biggest location at 7 Commercial Street, in the former premises of East Pizzas. It’s their third venue, with a window that features their Stormtrooper mask logo.
Their original, aka The Mothership, is a small three-year-old restaurant on Dalry Road - and they also have a spot inside Cask Smugglers on top of Waverley Mall.
The menu of Neapolitan-style pizzas will be the same across all locations. It references the team’s favourite films and books, with names including The Fantastic Four, The Shire, and Dragon Ballz (in reference to Japanese series, Dragon Ball Z), all of which are loaded with toppings to turn you into Jabba the Hutt. Of course there’s Dalek Bread on the menu too, and soon they’ll be adding mac ‘n’ cheese and “tatooine poutine” (Tatooine is Luke Skywalker’s home planet).
As their takeaway and delivery service has been relatively unaffected during lockdown, and they managed to host winter street food pop-ups at Edinburgh Zoo and Leith Community Croft, the business has stayed buoyant during the pandemic.
They’ve also accumulated plenty of excellent karma, thanks to their Pizza for the People initiative, which they launched in August 2018.
This involves them choosing one variety of pizza each month (this March, it’s their best-seller, The Super Mario) and, for every customer who buys one, they’ll donate another to the homeless and disadvantaged. Unsurprisingly, demand for this service, which they operate alongside charities like Social Bite and Cyrenians, among others, has skyrocketed over the last 12 months.
“The high point of this last year was donating 1003 pizzas on May the 4th (Star Wars Day to many),” says Patrick. “It was carnage but to see the whole Pizza Geeks family - past and present - along with numerous volunteers come together to make it happen was beautiful to behold. We will be going again this May the 4th so keep an eye out and please get in touch if you know of anyone who would benefit from a pizza”.
They crossed the mark of 10,000 donations by Christmas 2020.
As Patrick says, “we are even more passionate and committed to making kindness the focal point of what Pizza Geeks is about”.
Now that restaurants are gearing up to open on April 26, the geeks are getting ready to welcome fellow nerds, dweebs and dorks to their newest venue.
“We cannot quite put into words how excited we are. The in-house experience for customers is such an important part of what we do”, says Patrick. “It always brings a smile to our faces when someone (kids or big kids) sees one of their favourite characters in our decor. This coupled with the opportunity to have a strong fact-based debate with one of our staff as to who, between Gandalf and Captain Picard, would win Takeshi's Castle, means there is something for all levels of geekdom.”