It’s been six years since Amalia first opened its doors and began serving up slices of Italy to Liverpool. Our pizzas have been awarded the best in England three years in a row and we’ve come a long way from our humble beginnings. We’ve grown as both a business and a family, watched people come and go, but Amalia’s heart is still the same and our mission is simple: to bring fresh, homemade food and great quality pizzas to the city.
When you step inside Amalia, we want you to feel at home, because that’s what it is for us! Amalia is not only for families, it was inspired by family and built on the foundations of a close friendship. Our founders Miguel and Antonio have been working together since 2007 and the name itself represents their bond; if you take ‘A’ for Antonio, ‘M’ for Miguel, and combine it with ‘Italia’, what do you get? Amalia! It is also a testament to Miguel’s Grandmother, who passed away before he came to England. Amalia was a fantastic cook who inspired Miguel’s love of food and hospitality. It’s the perfect name for their mission to bring home cooking and a welcoming service to the high street.
Although fantastic business partners, the pair are friends first and foremost, and go back beyond 2007. They first met during their University days at York where they both worked at the same restaurant. Antonio was head chef and, within a few months of working there, Miguel soon charmed his way to the top and took over as manager. Sharing a dream of opening their own restaurant, their decision to join forces was a no-brainer. It was the start of the perfect pizza partnership. They combined their craziness, their craft, and love of good food to make their Amalian dream come true.
The next step was finding the right location to fire up the ovens and plate up the pizzas. After travelling to a number of cities across England, Miguel’s search ended in Liverpool where he found a property tucked away on Campbell Square. He was warned not to take the spot where Amalia stands proudly today, due to its hidden location that would perhaps make it difficult to attract customers to their doors. With pizza recipes like the city had never seen before up their sleeves, the pair said, ‘no worries! We’ll bring the people in!’
It was the right place and the right time for Amalia to flourish. Liverpool was on the cusp of its rapid growth after being named European Capital of Culture in 2008, and the city was encouraging businesses to set up shop and be part of its exciting progression. Miguel and Antonio also saw an opportunity to offer something that was missing. They found a sea of chain restaurants in Liverpool that lacked the true essence and character of the cultures they were serving the food of. Ten years on, the ‘to let’ signs and empty buildings that first welcomed Miguel are a thing of the past. We have grown alongside fellow independents bringing something special to the city.
Why do we serve Italian food? This is where our story really begins! In the recipes that raised us, the smells and tastes of home, and the comfort of sitting down to share a meal with loved ones. If Miguel had been the chef maybe we would be a Spanish restaurant, cooking up the cuisine of his childhood, but Miguel admits that for him, even frying an egg can be a struggle. His talents lie outside of the kitchen, ensuring that Amalia runs like clockwork, but he knows good food when he tastes it! Antonio is the brains behind our award-winning pizzas and traditional Italian dishes, inspired by the recipes passed down from his mother and grandmother. Born in Sardinia, the dishes cooked in Antonio’s family kitchen have found their way to Liverpool’s streets.
When we say that Amalia was built by a family, we don’t just mean ideas and recipes, we mean literally built by the hands of parents, grandparents, siblings, cousins and friends. They all played a part in building, designing and decorating Amalia. Of course, you’ll find the colours of the Italian flag throughout the interior: the hopeful green, the romantic red, and the peaceful white. We’ve decorated the walls with personal photos and memorabilia from both Antonio and Miguel’s family homes. Our shelves are full of ornaments and trinkets gifted by friends who have visited us from all over the world. It is a touching tribute to those who encouraged the pair to pursue their dream and helped make it a reality.
Of course, opening a business and starting from scratch is no smooth ride. Antonio, Miguel and the Amalia family have faced highs and lows together over the past six years. Just before Amalia opened its doors to the public, Antonio’s father passed away. It was a bittersweet beginning for our restaurant, but inspired the team to work hard and make Amalia the best it can be. It isn’t easy serving quality, homemade food in a high volume restaurant and we cannot be perfect all of the time, but what we can do is approach every problem with a happy, positive attitude. The most important lessons come from mistakes and we should not be afraid to make them, because this is how we grow and get better. Plus, if everything was easy, imagine how boring life would be!
Miguel and Antonio have come a long way since meeting in York. Miguel is now the godfather of Antonio’s children and even introduced him to his wife. They look out for each other and their bond has rubbed off onto the rest of the Amalia team. We’re a close knit group from across England, Ireland, Spain, Italy, Poland – many of us have left our home countries behind, so it’s important to feel part of a family here. Our aim is to also bond with you, our customers, but we never call you that. When people come into your home, you don’t see them as customers. They become part of your family and you serve them because you want to, not because you have to. You are our friends and we are your hosts.
This is why we offer a different kind of service. We’re a bit crazy here; we’re not normal, but we know people like to have fun! We’re serving up pizza and drinks, so we don’t need to be serious here. You can relax, eat a hearty home cooked meal, chat with us, and shake off the stresses of daily life. Once you step inside Amalia, you become family – part of our #fAmalia!