Much-loved pizzeria Pizza Loco has announced it will be closing at the end of the month after four and a half years in Oakwood.
The independent has said it’s been ‘excruciating to come to terms’ with the news, but hopes to make 2024 the year with lots of new ventures, and losing the Oakwood store is just part of the process of moving onto bigger and better things.
Pizza Loco will still be slinging out dishes seven days a week over inside the Meanwood Tavern in Meanwood, and hints that there will be ‘two large and exciting new projects and a new food concept to launch this year’ to look forward to in 2024 – so it’s not all bad news.
The local pizzeria opened back its Oakwood 2019 and became a hit for its standout pizzas, sarnies (panuozzi) and has been spotted at pop-ups across the city ever since.
Pizza Loco really has become a staple of the local independent community during this time, and even had a collaboration with Rabbit Hole coffee last year.
But of course, we’ve all about all aboard the ‘pizza train’ for over a decade now. The pizzeria has gone from strength-to-strength in this time: starting off as a pop-up with a train structure before opening a permanent venture in 2019.
The Jamie Thiccc-erton became not just a local but national sensation, when the real Jamie Theakston got to hear about his namesake sando on Heart radio. The combination of mortadella, finocchiona, whole burrata, pepper slice, lemon basil aioli, gherkin and escarole has had locals cramming through the door – and will still be available for the next few weeks at the Oakwood venue.
Old favourites like the Marinargherita and Alla Norma will also make a limited return to the menu for the final weeks of trading in Oakwood.
Owner Oli Reynolds announced the news on Instagram:
“Dear Oakwood. Ollie here… I’ve been putting this off for a while, but I have to let you all know that at the end of the month, I will be permanently closing the pizzeria in Oakwood.
“It’s been excruciating to come to terms with closing here as I owe so much to all my Oakwood customers and staff old/new, but I have face facts that to keep the Oakwood site running, I’d need to work there full time. And with two large and exciting new projects and a new food concept to launch this year, this is the only way to have a fighting chance of making them successful.
“4 and a half years in this amazing little neighbourhood. It’s been an absolute whirlwind! From barely open pizzeria, to lockdown takeaway factory, to @rabbithole.coffee collabs, to crazy busy, to cozzie livs, to 9 months as solo chef 🥵.
“Whilst I feel sad to write this, I know there’s big things to look forward to (for you too hopefully 🤞🏼). We’ll still be firing out the goodness @meanwoodtavern too so please come say hello!
“For these last few weeks, I will be mostly bringing back old menu favourites (Marinargherita, Alla Norma to name a couple), staff specials, old Pat Butchers, and bits that never made the menu. Plus a burns night special little haggis number 🥸.
“Ciao for now (categorically not goodbye).
Famed for its pizza sarnies, the news has been met with heartfelt comments from local indies like “Best pizza in the UK hands down !!! Can’t wait to keep on eating your food wherever you will be!” from OWT and “One of the main reasons for moving to Oakwood was to be closer to your sweet pies x will miss you, excited for the future good luck” from neighbours The Melbourne.
The news has been met by over 100 different comments from locals mourning the loss of the pizzeria, with people even making plans to travel across the country for one last slice in Oakwood:
“This is a big loss for Oakwood but glad to hear you have new projects on the go. Your pizzas got us through that 1st lockdown”
“Are you shitting me?! So sad and yet utterly delighted for you. We will take a trip up from Warwick before the end of the month for one last pizza loco hurrah.”
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Feature Image – The Hoot Leeds