Stoke Newington pizza sensation sees dispute heat up around Hollywood-fame restaurant franchise

Pizzeria17: L'Antica Pizzeria da Michele Stoke Newington Church St Lon n16 210317 © DavidAltheer[at]
Tastemaker: L'Antica Pizzeria pleased epicures when it opened in Stokey in 2017

NORTHEAST LONDON’S hottest restaurant launch in years has been followed only months later by a dispute so tasty it will make lawyers salivate just thinking about the likely fat fees.

L’Antica Pizzeria da Michele, presenting itself as one of the best in the world, opened a pizza house in Stoke Newington earlier this year to noisy fanfare, queues along Church Street and gushing praise by food critics, few of whom mentioned that the N16 set-up was a franchise, not a branch.

The Neapolitan original became an international tourist draw when the heroine of a chick-lit novel that became a Hollywood movie bathed it in glutinous words of praise, inevitably reproduced on a wall of the Stokey venue.

Russell Brand with adoring20/-30ish fans @ after lecture at Proud Archivist restaurant in Hackney London 050615 ©
Selfie time: Russell Brand with adoring fans, and bodyguard, after a lecture

Now a legal clash is under way between the company, owned by Serena, Gennaro and Vania Sarnataro, that runs the N16 venue, and the original parent company.

A third company opened a L’Antica Pizzeria da Michele in Baker Street, off Euston Road, last week, and that is alleged by a complainant to be in breach of its contractual agreement.

The case is heading for court in Italy.

Just how good is the first L’Antica? Loving Dalston’s Neapolitan associates say it is undoubtedly considered “one of the greatest pizzerias”. Just remember, however, the others around the world are franchises, not owned by the Naples original.

A few km south of the Stokey caff another row has broken out around Proud East, the restaurant formerly known as the Proud Archivist on the Regent’s Canal in Haggerston. This one involves the three brothers with links to the business, and the courts.

Proud: Waiter at The Proud Archivist, later The Proud East, Reliance Wharf 2 Hertford Rd Haggerston N1 5ET 121013 ©
Proud: waiters at Haggerston’s Proud Archivist, later Proud East

The venue, a mini-cultural centre, became a huge attraction for femillennial  singletons, who regular filled the resto’s lecture theatre, to hang on comedian-actor Russell Brand’s spattered-out words when he gave a series of talks (or were they plugs for his My Booky Wook?)

Hamish Scott 041217

* L’Antica Pizzeria da Michele, 125 Church Street, Stoke Newington N16 0UH; The Proud East, 2 Hertford Road, Haggerston N1 5ET. Entrance on Regent’s Canal, near Kingsland Road

* Backstory: Russell Brand nicks centre stage in Hackney 

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