Hit pizzeria Rudy’s, which made its name in Manchester before opening in Leeds, Liverpool, and Birmingham, will open a debut London restaurant this year. The group will open at 80 Wardour Street, according to a premises license application, replacing ‘Mexican’ chain Wahaca.
Its short menu of classically Neapolitan pizzas is consistently cited as the best of its kind in the city, with the strict adherence to the “traditions and artistry of pizza from Naples” resulting in a concise menu of standards — marinara; margherita; and “ancozzese,” a white pizza with sausage and friarelli named for its birthplace. It will be joining some formidable competition in London, where Neapolitan remains the dominant style despite the emergence of the likes of ASAP Pizza, which has proven that putting the maker ahead of the city can produce truly outstanding slices and pies. Like other pizza restaurants in the U.K., the group introduced a “bake at home” pizza meal kit during lockdown, before reopening some of its pizzerias for takeaway.
Jim Morgan and Kate Wilson opened the first Rudy’s in Ancoats, Manchester in 2015, and there are now six across the city, Leeds, Birmingham, Liverpool, and Greater Manchester town Sale. Investor and “multi-concept operator” Mission Mars bought an undisclosed stake in 2017 which has fuelled that expansion, with Wilson and Morgan resigning their directorships at Rudy’s Pizza Ltd in 2017 and 2018 respectively and no longer holding shares in the business. Mission Mars will hope that its expansion does not go the way of the restaurant it is replacing, Wahaca, which has closed tens of restaurants after the Covid-19 pandemic put a pin in an already poppable casual dining bubble.
More soon on the opening date.