Papa John’s pizza giant to open first shop in Sunderland

Get a pizza the action when a huge American chain opens its doors in Sunderland.

After months of renovation works at a former fish and chip shop in Newcastle Road, Fulwell, Papa John’s will open its first Sunderland store on the site on Monday.

Papa John's pizza  in Fulwell. Owners from left Lakhwinder Singh and Bhasker Dhawan

Papa John's pizza in Fulwell. Owners from left Lakhwinder Singh and Bhasker Dhawan

The popular chain is being brought to the city by business partners, Bhasker Dhawan, Lakhwinder Singh and Sukhbir Gill, who between them have more than 30 years of experience in the pizza industry.

They say Wearside can look forward to hand-made pizza bases and a range of traditional pizzas, as well as more unusual options, such as a hog roast version which come with an apple sauce base and a BBQ cheeseburger pizza.

The venture, which offers collect and delivery seven days a week, has created up to 45 new jobs in the area.

Mr Dhawan said: “There are around 350 Papa John’s in the UK now, but this is the first in Sunderland and is our fifth as a business partnership. Papa John’s already has a really popular following at its other stores and we think this one will prove very popular too.

A worker making a Papa John's pizza

A worker making a Papa John's pizza

“The main difference with Papa John’s is that, although we do the traditional pizzas, we also experiment with more unusual toppings and sauces. We also offer a deep pan crust with cheese to the end, which is very popular.”

Ahead of the shop’s opening on Monday at 11am, the staff are making pizzas in the new kitchen which they’ll be delivering to local emergency services workers and charities over the weekend.

Mr Dhawan said: “The local community have been very supportive so far, so we thought it would be a good idea to give something back.”

Papa John's pizza  in Fulwell. Part owner Lakhwinder Singh

Papa John's pizza in Fulwell. Part owner Lakhwinder Singh