Big Manny’s Pizza has taken the north-east by storm after being born out of necessity during the pandemic.
The monster-sized New York-style delicacies were first served up at Adams Lounge on Aberdeen’s Holburn Street in October 2020.
Bosses came up with the idea to remain afloat during lockdown, helping to keep staff in work when times were tough.
In 2021, they submitted a building warrant for a £5,000 expansion of the kitchen. By that time, they told us they were selling thousands every week.
Since then a takeaway has opened near Pittodrie, there’s a branch at Codona’s, a franchise has launched in Inverurie and plans for a Peterhead diner have been approved.
So far so good..?
It’s been such a whirlwind that management say they didn’t realise they never actually got permission to start selling takeaways from the Adams Lounge in the first place.
It’s a bit complicated but, while the bar is allowed to sell food, separate permission is needed from the council for takeaway operations.
And since lodging the plans retrospectively with the local authority, neighbours have been using the public platform to have their say.
When it comes to the smell created by the “constant” production of pizzas there, many have been left fuming.
Why are neighbours kicking up a stink about Big Manny’s Pizza pong?
Ronald Fraser lives nearby on Holburn Street.
While he is quick to compliment the “highly respected and responsible” Adams Lounge, he explains that his quarrel is with the recent takeaway addition.
Mr Fraser said: “The rear windows of my flat directly overlook the ventilation system for this takeaway.
“The takeaway has now become a very busy cooking facility, which runs seven days a week with cooking starting about 10.30am and the ventilation system shutting down at about 11pm each day.
“The menu has been expanded to include burgers and chicken as well as pizzas.”
‘I no longer open my rear windows’
Mr Fraser says the “continuous” ventilation system blows “cooking smells and noise” to the rear of properties such as his.
He adds: “I no longer open my rear windows because of the cooking smells and noise. This includes my bedroom window.
“The garden of my tenement block is also affected by the noise and smells.
“It is a reasonably well tended garden, but the foregoing means it is not as pleasant to use. It is a loss of amenity despite the Aberdeen weather.”
Another neighbour, Richard Craig, added: “The noise and air pollution has increased significantly as a result of the business operating continuously throughout the day.
“The loud ventilation creates noise and directs unpleasant odours into my flat to such an extent that I no longer can open my windows on the elevation facing the flue.”
Serviced apartment owners are also cheesed off
Meanwhile, the owners of the Howburn Residence serviced apartment block above the Holburn Street bar are similarly miffed.
On behalf of the company, Ledingham Chalmers has urged Aberdeen City Council to put a stop to the takeaways.
The solicitors say the nine apartments, spread over three storeys, are “significantly affected”.
Their letter states: “The hot food takeaway has resulted in significant additional noise.
“And smell from the venting of the kitchen is also having an impact on the air quality.
“The ventilation system is incredibly noisy.”
Claims that smelly rubbish and food waste attracts seagulls
They add: “The premises do not have any on-site area to store waste.
“Therefore, there are currently up to eight commercial bins being kept on the public pavement/road.
“This increased waste from the takeaway includes used oil bins and waste food, which is attracting seagulls and creating odours (especially in the summer heat).
“These bins are currently being stored adjacent to our clients’ property entrance, which is not an attractive sight or smell to be met by the guests of the apartments.”
And they warn that, were those flats ever to become mainstream housing, the issues would be “amplified”.
Neighbours also complain about Big Manny’s Pizza delivery drivers
Other gripes have been raised about an increase in Deliveroo bikes, motorbikes and cars as pizzas are collected.
Watch our video about the company’s early growth:
Big Manny’s Pizza declined to comment on the neighbours’ criticism.
Papers sent to the council explain: “As they were using their existing bar kitchen, the owners were unaware that they required a change of use application for takeaway
This isn’t the first time Big Manny’s Pizza has fallen out with neighbours
This isn’t the first time they’ve fallen foul of planning regulations, though.
Last year, Big Manny’s Pizza had to take down brightly glowing signage from their Pittodrie branch after putting it up without consent.
Residents likened the bright orb to the moon hitting their eye like a big pizza pie, and the council said it had to go.
You can see the retrospective plans for the Adams Lounge takeaway here.