Ricky Marples is working tirelessly on getting the premises on Vicar Lane ready for his relocated business Pizza Pi.
He said: “It was basically an empty shell when we took it, brick walls and concrete floor. We needed to build the kitchen, install the ovens and bars.
"Me and my life partner, Nicola Rushton, have done quite a lot of the work ourselves and the staff have been painting."
Ricky estimates to have spent about £50,000 on the building which was formerly occupied by Ann Summers.
He said: "We’re hoping to be open in February and that we can hit Valentine’s Day and make a bit of a splash,” he said. “There is a huge demand for pizzas everywhere – it’s a lot of people’s favourite food.”
Ricky plans to recruit between eight and ten people on full-time and part-time contracts to augment the five-strong team already in place.
The new restaurant will accommodate 50 covers, catering for twice as many customers as Pizza Pi’s old premises in Chesterfield while keeping a similar menu of pizzas, garlic bread, fries and sides. Ricky said: “We use our own dough recipe. It’s freshly made dough and freshly made sauce every day and the pizza is cooked in a wood-fire oven. What we've done previously has worked out really well, keeping it nice and simple. We're going to follow through on that before we try and do too much.
“In August 2018 I ventured into the first restaurant that we had on Beetwell Street. Our third year came up and our lease expired and our landlord didn't want to renew it so we left in June 2021 and we've been chasing this unit since then. We only got the keys in December; any hours that exist we’ve either been here or asleep.
"We held the business together by doing takeways for the last six months from Chandlers bar who were kind enough to help us out.”
While work is continuing on the r estaurant Pizza Pi is serving takeaway pizzas in front of its new premises. Pizzas will be available at a trailer on Vicar Lane from January 12 to 23 and January 26 to 30, from 12 noon until 9pm.
Pizza Pi was born as a mobile enterprise in 2017 and takes its name from a mathematical equation. Ricky said: “When setting up the mobile business, my original business partner created the name because he was a bit of a maths expert. When we went from mobile trader to a restaurant he wasn’t interested in the full-time aspect of it so he left.”
Ricky formerly worked as a chef at Il Lupo in Baslow and Meadowfresh in Chesterfield. He said: “Once I found out about making pizzas I found something that I really enjoyed doing.”