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Start-up Serves Up Success on South Shields Promenade

A 'lockdown hobby turned start-up business' is embracing, enhancing and celebrating some of South Shields' finest creations by serving up a slice of success in its first few weeks of trading.

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Louisa Smith (left), Jonnnie Halling (centre), and Cllr Mark Walsh (right)

Ritrovo is a quirky takeaway business that recently opened on South Shields promenade serving Roman 'Al Taglio' inspired pizza slices with locally influenced toppings, along with a range of beers.

Co-founder Jonnie Halling, who has a background in food production and has spent the last eight years managing the factory at Minchella & Co, developed a love for pizza making during the pandemic.

Jonnie has teamed up with Louisa Smith, owner of Smith's Seaview Café following the shared vision of growing a prom facing side of the business with a new and exciting concept.

Jonnie and Louisa are passionate about South Shields and are now enhancing the area's food offering by creating honest, artisan products and taking inspiration from other local businesses.

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Jonnie Halling, Co-founder of Ritrovo

One example of this local influence is Ritrovo's use of a Dickson's saveloy in their Oi Oi Slice. The slice consists of an 80% hydrated and 72 hour fermented dough and a creamy bechamel base topped with caramelised red onion, Dickson's saveloy, deep fried sage and mozzarella.

Opening in October 2021, the business has recently utilised the Seaview Café's outdoor space to create an informal eating and drinking area with roof covering and pergola, enhanced with warm lights and promenade facing bar.

Ritrovo has received an excellent response in its first few weeks of trading - selling over 192 slices on the opening day alone.

Jonnie says: "Over the last few years there has been a real movement in South Shields with the rise of independent food vendors who pride themselves with honest, artisan food. We're thrilled to be working alongside the likes of Wolfman's, Willie's Burgers, Bessie's Sweet Bakes, Up North Pizza, Zlich and The Harton Hop House - to name a few. It is important for us as a business to champion South Tyneside and the businesses within it.

"Like many, lockdown was a time to slow down and reflect and ultimately sparked my passion for pizza making - using the time to experiment and perfect the pizza dough. The initial response to Ritrovo has been incredible and we have ambitious plans looking ahead to 2022, with hopes of starting a delivery service across the North East and to collaborate with other local food businesses on unique pizza concepts."

Cllr Mark Walsh, Lead Member for Regeneration and Economy at South Tyneside Council said: "It's wonderful to see a new quirky business thrive in South Shields and we wish Ritrovo every success as we head into the new year."

Ritrovo is currently open Friday and Saturday 12:00-21:30 and Sunday 12:00-20:00. To find out more, visit: https://m.facebook.com/Ritrovo.Ltd/?ref=py_c