We’ve been bigging up Londoners, small businesses and social enterprises that have been doing good things for the city and the people that live in it with our annual LOTI Heroes awards. But there are many more people and independent businesses out there that make London what it is – officially the best city in the world – that an annual shout out just isn’t enough, especially considering we’ve all been through the ringer this year. Enter Local Heroes, our way of showing the love to London’s good guys, small businesses and neighbourhood spots…

Short Road Pizza was born out of the original lockdown when Kate and Ugo moved to Leytonstone and bought a pizza oven to help keep them busy. As Kate says, “Ugo’s ancestry is in Naples and his Nonno owned a pizza restaurant so it’s in his DNA to nerd out about dough recipes and marrying the perfect flavours on the top.”

Pizza became a way for the pair to both get to know their new area and help out during the peak of the crisis. “We felt a bit at sea in a new neighbourhood during a pandemic so we decided to reach out to our new neighbours with homemade flyers asking if they would like some fortnightly contact free pizza in exchange for a cash donation to our local food bank Eat or Heat” says Kate.

After getting a positive response from their fellow Short Road residents, Kate and Ugo started offering pizza for collection, and then teamed up with fellow Leytonstone-based pizza fan Jack (@theperfectpizza) to cook even more pies, managing to raise over £1000 for Eat or Heat.

Short Road Pizza is now a trio and they’ve got a Sunday residency at Leyton wine bar Yardarm where they’re running a pre-order and collection service. More space means they can do more pies, so as well as their classic margherita and marinara pizzas they’re also doing weekly specials, like honey & Cobble Lane ‘nduja, blue cheese & pear with Epping Good Honey and a Reuben-inspired collab pizza with pickle makers Putz’s Pickles. £1 for every pizza sold is donated to Eat or Heat.

It’s hard to plan too much for the future at the moment, especially as the trio all have full-time jobs, but for Kate the goal for Short Road Pizza is “to keep it fun and charity focused! It’s come from a passion for pizza and community….the dream would be to continue with pop ups, cater events or even open up our own shop!”.

Since we’re all about sharing the love, Kate’s giving a shout out to Willy’s Pies, Putz’s Pickles and Kold Sauce, because they “are all local to Leyton making really tasty things, doing great collabs and lifting up other people’s businesses in the community”.


Photo credit: Caitlin Isola @scaitboard