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 Passeig San Joan is included in the Foodie BCN App, click HERE to download.
Parking Pizza Passeig San Joan
Passeig de Sant Joan, 56
Read about the other Parking Pizza here.