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Pizza with personality at Hole in the Wall Pizza Co.

Pizzas come in slices of fun at Hole in the Wall.
Pizzas come in slices of fun at Hole in the Wall. Pictured is general manager of The Ivy Lodge / Hole in the Wall, Monica McQuilter.

Ever fancied trying a pizza inspired by Snoop Dogg? How about Elton John, Madonna or The Spice Girls?

This is exactly what you’ll find at Hole in the Wall Pizza Co. At The Ivy Lodge in Aberdeen where pizzas come with added creativity and personality.

Overseen by The Ivy Lodge’s general manager Monica Mcquilter, pizzas from Hole in the Wall can be enjoyed alongside a drink at The Ivy Lodge or picked up for takeaway through the building’s literal hole in the wall.

All food is made fresh to order at Hole in the Wall.
All food is made fresh to order at Hole in the Wall.

Freshly prepared pizzas made to order are what the business is all about.

Its music themed menu includes favourites like Tropic Like It’s Hot and Smoke on the Water and is a fun part of the burgeoning Shiprow Village community.

We talked to Monica to find out more about Hole in the Wall Pizza Co.

Tell us a little about yourself.

I’m from Dumbarton originally, but my brother moved up to the north-east before me. I just wanted a change from Dumbarton really, which was why I moved up. I used to work in the insurance industry, then I went into recruitment. But I’ve always kept hospitality on the side throughout my career and it’s something that I’ve always loved.

Hole in the Wall Pizza Co. general manager, Monica McQuilter, standing in front of a wall of roses.
Hole in the Wall Pizza Co. / The Ivy Lodge general manager, Monica McQuilter.

I’ve been in hospitality now for 17 years. I started off in Cameron House, then also Frankie & Benny’s for a number of years, as well as a few other places. However, I kept on getting made redundant several times in my career with the oil and gas downfall, so I decided to go into hospitality full-time a few years ago with The Ivy Lodge, which is where I’ve been since November 2020.

Pictured is a Hawaii Spice-O pizza.
Pictured is a Hawaii Spice-O pizza.

How did you find the opportunity to work with The Ivy Lodge and how does this tie in with Hole in the Wall?

So, The Ivy Lodge was originally a pop-up bar in the Douglas Hotel staff car park and it was tiny (we only sat around 40 people at that time). I came on board because I knew a few of the people that worked in Malones Irish Bar in Shiprow. I came to help them out, then they offered me a full-time job.

Pizza chef Ayshia Gui at work on her pizza dough.
Pizza chef Ayshia Gui at work on her pizza dough.

Aberdeen lacks a lot of outdoor spaces where people can go and enjoy food and drinks al fresco. So with Shiprow, there were a lot of unused buildings which we’ve now taken over and brought back to life. We’ve extended the Ivy Lodge, opened up The Old Workshop cocktail bar plus a few food units like Hole in the Wall.

Inside The Ivy Lodge.
Inside The Ivy Lodge.

When we first originally opened the Ivy Lodge, we did pizzas as a food offering and this has always been something that we’ve had on the menu. When we expanded, we decided to keep it as people were enjoying the pizzas. The name Hole in the Wall came through people being able to takeaway pizzas from the Ivy Lodge – which is just literally a door in the wall!

Pictured is a Barbie(cue) Girl pizza.
Pictured is a Barbie(cue) Girl pizza.

Tell us all about your music inspired pizzas.

A lot of the staff members really enjoy helping me come up with the names for our pizzas. It’s all based on music themes – I like a pun! Uptown Grill is one of our most popular pizzas. That’s a meat feast style pizza which goes down well with customers. A new pizza which one of our team members came up with recently called Smoke on the Water which has a BBQ base, smoked cheese, mozzarella, chicken and bacon is also going down really well.

A pizza from Hole in the Wall Pizza Co.
“We do two for £17 from Sundays to Thursdays on pizzas and they do prove quite popular,” Monica McQuilter.

We have others like the Snoop Dogg themed Tropic Like It’s Hot (mozzarella, pineapple, peppers, chillies), Elton John style Rocket Man (mozzarella, mushrooms, peppers, red onions, rocket) and the super-hot Spice Girls inspired Spice Up Your Life (mozzarella, pepperoni, salami, chorio, chillies, scotch bonnets, red onions, sriracha drizzle).

Chef Ayshia letting the pizza oven work its magic.
Chef Ayshia letting the pizza oven work its magic.

There’s a mix of vegetarian and vegan options with our pizzas and we also have garlic bread sides. We do two for £17 from Sundays to Thursdays on pizzas and they do prove quite popular.

How are your pizzas made?

We have four pizza ovens we use with Hole in the Wall and every pizza is made to order – nothing is frozen. We make our own dough ourselves, it’s all hand-rolled out and put together by our staff. The pizza ovens cook the pizzas very quickly – doing the rolling and toppings takes longer than it does to cook. It’s also given our staff at The Ivy Lodge new skills too as we’ve trained many of them to work as pizza chefs with Hole in the Wall.

A Hawaii Spice-O pizza in prep.
A Hawaii Spice-O pizza in prep.

Are your pizza bagels also a popular option with customers?

Definitely. We came up with the concept of pizza bagels as we thought it lined up well with the street food vibe of the offerings at Shiprow Village. Somebody might not want to walk around with a big pizza box, but a pizza bagel is smaller and something a little bit different – we didn’t really see anywhere else doing a concept like that. There’s less wastage with these as well as sometimes people might only want a couple of slices when they order a full pizza.

A Rocket Man bagle under construction.
A Rocket Man bagle under construction.

But the pizza bagels also open up mix and match options from the other food vendors at Shiprow Village like ABERDAM as well. Pepper Don’t Preach (mozzarella, peppers, mixed chillies) and Barbie(cue) Girl (mozzarella, chicken, red onion, peppers, chilli flakes) are a few of the musical bagel options we have at the minute.

Pizza bagels offer variety at Hole in the Wall.
Pizza bagels offer variety at Hole in the Wall.

What do you enjoy most about your job?

Me personally, I’ve loved seeing how the whole Shiprow Village area has changed within the last 18 months. From starting off as a pop-up bar to what it is now, it’s been amazing. Seeing people come back out and enjoy themselves again has also been so good as it’s been a tough few years with the pandemic.

Monica is looking forward to the summer season with Hole in the Wall.
Monica is looking forward to the summer season with Hole in the Wall.

What’s next for Hole in the Wall?

Within Shiprow Village, there’s a lot of things coming up. We’re always looking at new ideas at Hole in the Wall and making sure we can offer something that’s a little bit different from other places. We’re looking forward to enjoying the summer with everyone coming out and having a good time.

www.instagram.com/holeinthewall_shiprow

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