WORK has started on a much anticipated arrival to Stockton Heath.

Rudy's pizzeria is set to open in the village later this year.

The award-winning Rudy's will be taking over the former Barclays unit in Church Farm Shopping Precinct in Walton Road.

The Neapolitan pizza specialists have now introduced the restaurant's general manager – Beth Sinclair – and are on the look out to recruit 'pizzaiolis' and front-of-house staff.

Launched in 2015 by couple Jim Morgan and Kate Wilson, the Manchester business was at the forefront of the Ancoats food and drink boom, and quickly gained cult status among pizza fans.

Its popularity has seen sites open in Greater Manchester, Liverpool, Leeds and Birmingham.

Stockton Heath will be the 'seventh member of the Rudy's famiglia' and the restaurant, which will seat around 50 people, has been described as a 'relaxed neighbourhood pizzeria'.

Believing Neapolitan pizza to be the 'best in the world', Rudy’s dough is made fresh daily using Caputo ‘00’ flour which ferments for at least 24 hours, alongside the best quality ingredients imported twice a week from Naples, including San Marzano tomatoes grown on fields next to Mount Vesuvius, and fior di latte mozzarella.

The dough is made fresh on site every day and cooked in wood fired ovens for just 60 seconds, all in accordance with Neapolitan pizza tradition, leaving it soft and floppy with a 'leopard patterned cornichon' (crust).

In 2019, Rudy's was ranked 10th in a chart of the ‘Top fifty best pizzas in the world’ compiled by global travel and food website Big Seven.