Pop-up to permanent: Dusty Knuckle Pizza announces plans for urban courtyard in Cardiff


Pop-up wood-fire pizza company, Dusty Knuckle, has announced plans to set up a permanent home in Cardiff.

The portable pizzeria, which was named one of the ‘Top 25 pizzerias in the UK’ by Sunday Times Magazine last month, is a favourite of Cardiff’s street food scene and will now follow the footsteps of former pop-ups like Hangfire Smokehouse and Got Beef to set up a permanent residence.

Pizza power couple and owners of Dusty Knuckle, Phill Lewis and Deb Noyes, are converting an urban space in Canton into an edible courtyard growing a range of produce including parsley, sage, coriander and many of the herbs used to top its hand-made pizzas.

The couple, who live in Groesfaen, founded Dusty Knuckle 19 months ago and started touring Wales’s markets and festivals offering pop-up food services alongside their day jobs working for CGL and Salvation Army.

Last week Phill left his job as the head of operations to run Dusty Knuckle full-time while Deb gave notice last year to focus on the business and bring up their first child.

Phill, 38, said: “Taking the leap from pop-up to a permanent pizzeria is a big step for us, but we think it is the right way to take Dusty Knuckle forward. It’s daunting and exciting to think that only last week I was working a normal day job and now I’m putting everything into setting up our side project as a full-time business.

“We wanted our new home to stay true to our philosophy and to what good ‘poor man’s food’ is all about by keeping things simple, using quality local produce and maintaining a connection with the food we’re eating.

“Our courtyard will be a no frills urban space where guests can sit among growing herbs and vegetables and eat wood-fire pizza fresh from the oven alongside some thoughtfully constructed seasonal sides and sweets. We’ll still be using carefully selected ingredients from our favourite suppliers, many of which are located just a few miles away, as well as handpicked herbs from our courtyard where possible. I can’t confirm exactly where we will be yet, but all will be made clear within a matter of weeks.”

The menu will feature Dusty Knuckle favourites, such as the Pepperoni made exclusively for Dusty Knuckle by 2016 BBC Food & Farming finalists Charcutier Ltd, the Black & Blue – San Marzano Toms, Cothi Valley blue goat’s cheese and black olive tapenade and the signature Blas Y Mor – a combination of tomato, mozzarella, Charcutier Ltd lardons, Penclawdd cockles, laverbread and samphire.

Phill said the popularity of Cardiff’s street food scene has opened the door for him to set up Dusty Knuckle in a permanent residence and that the timing of the trend was key:

“I built a clay oven in my garden 11 years ago to host a pizza party for my mates and ever since then I thought it would be great to get it on wheels. I’ve always wanted to set up my own restaurant, but it wasn’t until the street food scene trickled down from London and picked up in popularity in Cardiff that I was able to consider starting a pop-up.

“Setting up a restaurant from scratch is a huge risk and requires a large amount of investment, but the street food scene has given smaller scale projects, like our own, accessibility to the industry which would otherwise have been unachievable. If we had started our oven on wheels 11 years ago it would never have worked and we would not be in a position to set up Dusty Knuckle as a permanent pizzeria like we are today.”

For more information about Dusty Knuckle, visit www.dustyknucklepizza.co.uk, find Dusty Knuckle Pizza Company on Facebook or follow @dusty_knuckle on Twitter.