The oldest established pizza place in the country has opened its doors to the Magherafelt public with the promise that they will bring their secret to authentic and traditional pizza-making to the town.
The Pizza Parlour has become a household name in Ballymena since it opened in 1981. Renowned for its good food and terrific service, the restaurant has now opened a new restaurant on Queen Street in the centre of Magherafelt.
“To the best of my knowledge the Pizza Parlour is the oldest established pizza place in Northern Ireland,” said the proprietor, Gary O’Neill. “It started in 1981 and so that means we have a wealth of experience in bringing the best service and the best food to the public.
“I’ve owned the Ballymena business since 2009 and it has been a roaring success. We have a 150-seater restaurant and it is filled every other night,” he said. He started to work in the Pizza Parlour in 1990 while he was at college and worked there for seven years.
“There is no secret to our success as such. Because it was the first pizza place in the north the owner, Don McCamphill, had to do everything from scratch.
“Whereas other places have pre-stretched pizzas, ours are handstretched to order there and then. It simply means that the quality is higher than that which you would normally be offered. You are getting the most traditional taste of Italy at Pizza Parlour.”
There is something about Magherafelt which has always been appealing
Gary explained how the original owner travelled to work in Dublin at the oldest pizza place in Ireland, Flanagan’s, to discover the secrets and authentic ways of crafting the best pizzas in the world from the Italian masters.
“There is something about Magherafelt which has always been appealing,” Gary continued. “I had looked at it a few years ago about putting in a takeaway but it never happened - but this time we are going to make a real go of it.
“The restaurant will be staffed by friendly local people who will do everything to make the experience at Pizza Parlour enjoyable and quick for those seeking a romantic meal, a family night out or a convivial pre-pub treat.
“The restaurant is fully licenced and is well suited to cater for large parties including hen, birthday and stag parties and other events.”