I like the pizza at Parking Pizza, I do. But more than the pizza I love the genius behind the concept. It took this second location, so much more obviously a former parking garage than their first location, for the genius behind it to become obvious.
Ready to join me on an outrageously speculative narrative? Let’s go.
Opening a restaurant in Barcelona is harder than this laid-back city would have you believe. For starters – will you opt for a licensed place and buy its license? That will set you back anywhere from 75,000€ for a complete dump to – really the sky is the limit but about 150,000€ is typical. You get their equipment thrown in for that but usually, you don’t want an old fryer and a couple of planchas for that price tag. The upside is you are ready to start trading.
Or you can rent a locale without a license and then do the necessary work to obtain your own license. This includes soundproofing (expensive), installing a handicapped bathroom (almost impossible in some older buildings) and finally installing a salida de humo or extractor. The last one can be tricky because if it lets out into a communal space, which it often does, you need to get the permission of every single neighbour beforehand.
So what do I think Parking Pizza did? They said “Sod that.” and went hunting for defunct parking garages, 1 story warehouses with high ceilings – cue magic light and no upstairs neighbors so in goes the extractor with minimal fuss which means having wood-fired ovens is a no-brainer. Plenty of space for a handicapped 2-meter by 2-meter bathroom. And no soundproofing necessary. Work the parking garage element into the brand: “Parking Pizza” and ta-da!
And the people! Such a huge space and by 14:00 on a Saturday it was filled with a first seating, mostly families with plenty more waiting.
There were two managers – one with the prescience to ask me if one of the Margherita pizzas I had ordered was for my children and would I want the standard pesto it comes topped with on the side? The seating hostess with the long neck and the Sinead O’Connor buzz cut ‘handled’ me dexterously while I negotiated with her to let my father, who has back problems sit on one of the sofas and eat if his back gave him problems on the backless stools. “Vale – si reina.” she acquiesced.
It’s a buzzy space with a tremendous turnover.
And they make good pizza and have a selection of 5 gelatos for after which they serve you in one of those squat, single footed aluminum ice cream bowls. Or there is the brownie with a smoosh of ice cream – which my oldest always orders.
It all works. And if things really went down the way I imagined – well aren’t they clever?!
Parking Pizza is included in the Foodie BCN App, click HERE to download.