Thursday 23 May 2019

Bray institution Pizzas 'n' Cream closes its doors

Pizzas ‘n’ Cream restaurant on Albert Walk.
Pizzas ‘n’ Cream restaurant on Albert Walk.

Mary Fogarty

Pizzas 'n' Cream closed its doors on Monday night for the last time, after 33 years of serving food in Bray.

A huge outpouring of good will followed the announcement, and the restaurant had a packed house for the evening, with queues down the lane and no food left by 7 p.m.

The Albert Walk restaurant, reportedly Ireland's first pizzeria, made the unexpected announcement on Monday afternoon on social media that it would close within hours. The pizzeria is on the market for €370,000 or a lease of €30,000 per year. People made their way to the restaurant in large numbers on Monday night to get the very last of the food served there.

'It has been a lovely surprise. We didn't expect so many people would come and have such nice things to say,' said Mary Nolan, one of the co-owners. Ann Nolan, whose late husband Seamus founded the business with Andy Holman said that Monday was an emotional evening for them all, and a bitter-sweet end to the three-decade partnership.

Seamus and Andy came up with the idea over a pint in the Harbour bar. They believed there was an opening for great quality pizza in Ireland and Bray, and the rest is history.

The three were overwhelmed by the massive turnout on Monday, which they said was way beyond their expectations.

'We did a Saturday night's business in three hours,' said Andy. They made the difficult decision to close due to a slowdown in trade in recent years.

There was a warm and loving atmosphere, but a sad one too. 'We really want to thank all our customers and our staff. It's been like a big family here, with even generations of the same family coming to work here,' said Andy.

They intend to hold a party for all staff from the restaurant's history in Bray soon, with the date and venue yet to be decided.

'People had their first jobs, first dates here,' said Andy. 'There is a lot of history involved. The amount of stories we heard last night was incredible.' Bray residents over the past three decades have attended children's birthday dinners, Christmas parties, quick catch-ups, gigs, and much more at the Albert Walk eatery.

Wicklow TD John Brady and his wife Gayle had their first date there 29 years ago. TV presenter Laura Whitmore is a former employee, and sometime customer when she's home, as is comedian Dara O Briain.

Globe-trotters have often admitted that despite travelling all over the world, the best pizza to be had was still the old reliable Pizzas 'n' Cream.

A massive outpouring of regret followed the announcement. Many recalled first dates at Pizzas 'n' Cream. There were plenty of other happy memories, and there were several calls for the secret sauce recipe.

Hundreds of people, some of whom have presumably been bringing their patronage to other pizza-joints in recent years, expressed sadness online at the closure.

One lady, now living in Leixlip, said she was sending her boyfriend on the drive to get one last taste of the local fare.

Bray People