Ciao! Amore Pizzeria brings a slice of Italy to Leighton Buzzard diners

A unique family-run pizza restaurant is melting the hearts of customers as they experience true Italian taste and hospitality.

Amore Pizzeria. Credit: Dolly and Maisy Photography

Amore Pizzeria. Credit: Dolly and Maisy Photography

Amore Pizzeria, Hockliffe Street, opened its doors on May 1, run by young couple Carmella Norton and her English husband Louis, affectionately nicknamed ‘Luigi Nortano’.

Together with marketing manager, Paulo Benfeito, the team are bringing the taste of Italy to town, with a wood-burning oven and cooking methods from the continent.

Paulo said: “What makes it unique is that nowhere in Leighton Buzzard does this.

“We are using traditional Italian recipes and methods for making pizza.

Louis and Carmella. Credit: Dolly and Maisy Photography.

Louis and Carmella. Credit: Dolly and Maisy Photography.

“The menu is all you can eat and we will bring you different slices – my favourite part is when we ask a customer if they want another one, and they say ‘oh, I can’t handle it anymore...’

“You each have an Italian flag and have to take it down if you’ve reached your limit!

“If you’ve ever been to Italy or Sicily for dinner with the family, they will sit you down and won’t take no for an answer.

“This is Italian customer service: very welcoming, not formal.”

Louis aka Luigi in action! Credit: Dolly and Maisy Photography.

Louis aka Luigi in action! Credit: Dolly and Maisy Photography.

Paulo has another business that he runs online from Stanbridge Road called Amore Bakery, which he started in 2011.

He then took over The Cup Cake Cafe six months ago, turning it into Amore Cafe, before conducting a lightning speed refurbishment over the bank holiday and reopening as Amore Pizzeria with new owners Carmella and Louis.

Paulo said: “Carmella is my wife’s cousin, and she and Louis have got that passion - they eat, sleep, and drink pizza.

“Carmella’s parents are Sicilian, while Louis never imagined himself doing what he does now. He used to be a carpenter – he made the tables for the restaurant - and now he is our pizza chef.

Flavours of Italy. Credit: Dolly and Maisy Photography.

Flavours of Italy. Credit: Dolly and Maisy Photography.

“They also have a baby pizza in the oven!”

Louis makes his dough the day before he creates a pizza, so it sits in the fridge for 24 hours to make it light.

The wood burning oven also adds its own unique “personality” and taste to the food, and is more environmentally friendly than other appliances.

The team now hopes that the pizzeria, a franchise of Amore Bakery, is just what the town needs to keep it alive and hope to inspire other businesses.

Paulo said: “Small coffee shops are converting to survive; there are too many big chains and other businesses face competition online.

“You’ve go to do something unique.

Happy customers. Credit: Dolly and Maisy Photography.

Happy customers. Credit: Dolly and Maisy Photography.

“The response from people has been amazing– on another level. We’ve had over 40 recommendations on Facebook already and someone physically added us to Trip Advisor; we were blown away.

“When we opened we were really busy and if the community can get us up to 1,000 likes on Facebook, we’ll put on an amazing offer!”

Search: Amore Pizzeria on Facebook or call 01525 839963.

Paulo, his wife Carmelina, and daughter, Isabelle. Credit: Dolly and Maisy Photography.

Paulo, his wife Carmelina, and daughter, Isabelle. Credit: Dolly and Maisy Photography.