Patrons at The Red Lion on St Mary’s Road in Ealing can now order a pizza and a pint after the Fuller’s-owned alehouse joined forces with Santa Maria Pizzeria next door.
The idea to offer the restaurant menu in the pub and the pub menu in the restaurant came about after Santa Maria’s owners Pasquale Chionchio and Angelo Ambrosio took over the Red Lion earlier this year.
The businessmen created a space in the pub kitchen to produce freshly baked bread every morning as well as a corridor to run between the two buildings.
'Wanted to make it bigger'
“We wanted to make Santa Maria bigger but we couldn't,” said Chionchio.
“When the opportunity came up to take over the pub next door it was a dream come true. They had become great friends of ours, and we were always sending our customers there to have a drink while they waited for their table.
"It's opened up new business for us, and cements us at the heart of traditional Ealing life, which makes us very happy.”
This week the pub debuted an Italian-inspired menu themed on Marenna – a traditional Neapolitan sandwich that sailors, factory workers and builders have in their lunch break.
Choices include Marenna Con La Salsiccia – pork sausage with Italian smoked mozzarella served in stone baked artisan bread with cooked on chips – and Merenna Con La Parmigiana – smoked mozzarella, aubergine and tomato sauce for £11.95.
The meat is from rare breed Ealing butcher Hook & Cleaver, while the British cheese is from local artisan cheesemaker the Cheddar Deli and the Provola and Mortadella are sourced from Italy, the owners said.
The menu is also open to those eating in Santa Maria.
According to the Pizza and Pasta Association, the total value of the pizza market in the UK is in excess of £5bn.
Market research analysts NPD also claim that pizza, as a dish, has increased in importance since 2009, growing servings by 37% when the total food and drinks market declined by 3%.