Meet the couple launching new pizzeria & bar Smoke + Ash in Edgbaston

Smoke + Ash is set to provide a relaxed day-to-evening venue to meet friends and family in one of Birmingham’s most popular suburbs

A brand new pizzeria and bar is set to open in the heart of Edgbaston joining popular venues including Loki and Chapter in Greenfield Crescent.

Due to launch in November, Smoke + Ash is a vision of co-owners Paul and Clare Collins - who hope to add to Birmingham’s thriving hospitality scene. They will be serving Neapolitan style pizzas, quality wines and seasonal twists on classic cocktails in a classy but comfortable setting.

Smoke + Ash is set to provide a relaxed day-to-evening venue to meet friends and family in one of Birmingham’s most popular suburbs. The venue will focus on great quality ingredients and quality drinks including innovative cocktails. The name stems from the couple’s interest in cooking and production styles and their influence on flavour, as well as the obvious hub of the business - the pizza oven.

Paul and Clair Collins are opening Smoke + Ash pizzareia in Edgbaston, Birmingham

Paul and Clare’s story

Paul and Clare, met while studying at university here in Birmingham some 20 years ago and still live in Birmingham. The pair are moving away from corporate life to pursue their ambition of running a restaurant focused on top quality ingredients and drinks range.

The pandemic helped them reassess their career path and utilise both their corporate experience and love of all things pizza-related to launch this exciting project. Paul, who previously worked in finance, says: “We’ve worked in a variety of different industries and roles and learnt the value of creating and being part of a great team. We’re keen to bring this dynamic to our own business.”

“During the first lockdown we realised that there was no decent pizza available to us for delivery where we live in Birmingham. This got us thinking about the merits of being able to offer great quality pizza and we started to look for venues in key locations across Birmingham.

“After spending several years living in Bristol we knew what a great independent pizzeria could look like and this inspired us to add to the small but growing scene in Birmingham. We’re beyond excited to join the Edgbaston hospitality scene,” he said.

Chapter opened its doors in Edgbaston on Tuesday

What’s the focus for Smoke + Ash?

Clare, who has spent two decades years in drink-related businesses, said value and guest experience are the focus of this new restaurant. “The first thing we want to be able to offer our guests is great customer service – and create an environment where people feel comfortable and relaxed,” she explained.

“We’ll be reviewing our pricing regularly with a focus on delivering value across all of our products. The cost of living crisis is a serious concern and we aim to support our guests as much as we possibly can. We’ll also be working with a variety of Birmingham and Midlands-based suppliers, both to reduce food miles and support local businesses,” she said.

But, most importantly - community is at the heart of the venture.

“We want to support local charities and particularly children in Birmingham living with the very real trauma of food poverty. We aim to help build upon the good work other independents have been doing in Stirchley and Digbeth – the recent Commonwealth Games showed just how good this city can be when we work together and utilise that unique ‘Brummie’ way of doing things,” he said.

“We also want to provide employment and career development opportunities for our team and help re-build a positive reputation for the hospitality industry which has had so many recent setbacks. We’re actively working with local universities and colleges to offer work experience and flexible part time work. If you’ve got a can-do attitude and want to learn about pizza and drinks we want to hear from you,” added Paul.

Smoke + Ash is due to open at Greenfield Crescent in early November and is hiring right now. You can follow their development on their Instagram page.

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