Published: 16:52, 04 June 2021
| Updated: 18:22, 04 June 2021
A pizza business whose lockdown launch became embroiled in a planning wrangle has now fired up its ovens at a town centre pub.
Flamingdoughs had initially started serving up sourdough pizza for collection and delivery from a converted shipping container in the grounds of Holmesdale Cricket Club in Sevenoaks earlier this year.
The venture was scrapped following concerns from neighbours and the unexpected need for planning permission, so now the business has set up home at The Chequers pub in the town's High Street.
Chris Marlowe, who previously launched takeaway service Marlowe's Burgers in Tunbridge Wells, says that now a town centre location has been found he is excited for people in Sevenoaks to try their pizza.
The 38-year-old said: "Our strapline is 'fresh ideas on traditional pizza'.
"Sevenoaks is crying out for a great pizza place, so I came up with the idea of doing just a short-term kitchen takeover at a pub while we were in lockdown, because all these pubs were closed and I thought it would be a great place to set up a kitchen temporarily.
"So I just emailed a few pubs in the area, and Tony at The Chequers was ready to make a change because everyone is doing the same thing, and bringing pizzas and burgers to the pub would set him aside from the rest of the pubs in Sevenoaks. And it has done."
Mr Marlowe says the location at the High Street pub is now for the long-term, but he still has plans to operate the trailer which caused controversy at the cricket club.
A significant investment in that mobile kitchen means the business - which now employs three people in Sevenoaks and is still hiring - will have to find an alternative location for it.
"I'm gutted that it didn't work out there," said Mr Marlowe, who lives in Tunbridge Wells.
"Although we have actually got, geographically, a better location now, for Deliveroo, for collection and for advertisement, it was a real shame that it didn't work out.
"I'm actively seeking a new location for the trailer on an industrial site, in a different town. We'll have it moved by the end of the month, I hope. That cost me probably five times the amount of setting up in the pub."
Flamingdoughs hopes to use social media as a major channel for marketing its pizzas - which feature more unusual ingredients like butternut squash, blue cheese and anchovy - so don't be surprised if you spot a large pink flamingo in a town centre shop in the coming weeks.
Mr Marlowe said: "We are going to speak to local shops and we are going to collaborate with them so they are going to put the flamingo inside their shop.
"Then anybody who comes in and takes a picture with the flamingo and posts it on one of our social media accounts and tags us in it will get a free garlic bread with any pizza order they make.
"And we'll also give the shop a free pizza to try as well.
"I'm a huge advocate of saving the high street, and now that we are in Sevenoaks High Street it's down to us to help do that."