Neapolitan pizza impresario Santa Maria will follow up the relocation of its longest standing, best-known restaurant by opening on one of the least hospitable restaurant streets in the city. Having swapped its decade-old St. Mary’s Road site in Ealing for a larger spot around 500m away, it will now open a new pizzeria on Upper Street, in Islington, one of the most capricious restaurant streets in the city.
As teased in an Instagram post back at the start of May and later reported by Hot Dinners, Pasquale Chionchio and Angelo Ambrosio’s group will replace Baba Boom at 189 Upper Street. It will be the duo’s fourth Santa Maria in the city, with the original soon to reopen as Vergine Maria, a vegan restaurant anchored by, but not entirely limited to pizza. This location, however, will revolve around the Neapolitan-style pizzas, panuozzi, and calzone for which the restaurants have acquired a formidable reputation.
With Covid-19 having tilted the restaurant property market in operators’ favour — provided they have enough capital both financial and social in hand — this might be the most advantageous time to open on a road that, historically, has proven a graveyard for chains large and small. With both Tofu Vegan — from chefs connected to Xi’an Impression and Xi’an Biang Biang Noodles — and Santa Maria arriving in quick time, it may be easier to find some staying power in cheaper rents.