Iconic Ipswich pub builds outdoor kitchen to serve pop-up pizzas

Zia Marita's Pizzeria at The Woolpack

The new outdoor kitchen at Ipswich's Woolpack pub, which serves pizzas, has been a hit - Credit: The Woolpack

An iconic Ipswich pub has built a new outdoor kitchen - so it can serve street food in bid to broaden its offer in the wake of the coronavirus crisis.

Like many pubs, The Woolpack, in Tuddenham Road, found itself adapting during the coronavirus lockdown by serving takeaway meals while indoor venues were shut.

Zia Marita's Pizzeria at The Woolpack, Ipswich

People can enjoy a menu of seven pizzas, plus a daily special - Credit: The Woolpack

It has therefore built a new outdoor kitchen in its car park, so it can capitalise on the takeaway trend and serve traditional Neapolitan pizzas on Thursday, Fridays and Saturdays.

As well as bringing an Italian flavour to Suffolk, it increases the kitchen space available - meaning the pub can keep more staff employed if there are any future coronavirus restrictions.

Landlady Marita Hunter-Rodwell said: "We've had to adapt every month during the coronavirus crisis to something new.

The Woolpack has started a take-away delivery service for it's customers. Landlady of The Woolpack,

Landlady Marita Hunter-Rodwell said publicans have had to work harder than ever during the coronavirus crisis - Credit: Archant

"Where we're located, we're very much a community pub.

"For most publicans, it's a time when they've had to work harder than they ever have in the past - but it has been a thoroughly enjoyable time.

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"It's quite nice being in amongst those challenges and thinking outside the box, not just like a traditional pub."

The Woolpack has redesigned its back area to be able to serve its menu of seven pizzas, plus a daily special, through the hatch of its new outdoor kitchen.

"We felt like there was a missing market in Ipswich for traditional, Neapolitan pizzas," Ms Hunter-Rodwell said of the new Zia Marita's Pizzeria.

"A lot of the time during lockdown, people weren't seeing anyone else outside their own homes. We were also delivering to people who lived on their own completely.

"Since lockdown, a lot of people still haven't been able to travel, so this means they can have their own little Italian holiday at The Woolpack.

Zia Marita's Pizzeria at The Woolpack

The menu offered by Zia Marita's Pizzeria at The Woolpack - Credit: The Woolpack

"On a day when the sun is shining, it feels like you're not in Ipswich.

"Quality is something that that lots of pubs have realised is even more important now than ever."

The pub is applying to Ipswich Borough Council for retrospective planning permission for the outdoor kitchen.

A document prepared by KLH Architects described the outdoor kitchen was "considered as a positive response to the ongoing difficulties caused  by Covid".

 The Woolpack pub in Ipswich. 

The Woolpack is a historic, Grade-II Listed pub - Credit: Sarah Lucy Brown/Archant

It added: "The long-term viability of this pub and others requires creative thinking and the ability to capture new trends and activities."