In Hitchin's popular and ever-growing street food scene, Sam's Pizza stands alone as offering the best slices in town.

Having opened their very first permanent kitchen in Bancroft last December, the business has gone from strength to strength, but it all started back at the beginning of lockdown when owner Danny Sharma purchased his own home pizza oven.

"I’d had my eye on one for a while and it seemed like a good time to get one," he told Comet reporter Dan Mountney. 

"I’d never made pizzas before and I thought it was going to be really easy. It turns out it’s a lot harder than it seems. They were coming out square, triangular, half-cooked.

"I was doing it for fun really and I love Neapolitan style pizza, so I was missing having them during lockdown.

The Comet: Danny started making pizzas in lockdown.Danny started making pizzas in lockdown. (Image: Dan Mountney)

"The first few months were just spent messing around in my garden and making pizzas for my family, and they were telling me I should start selling them. That’s where Sam’s started.

"I started with pop-ups around Hitchin, for a short spell in Bucklersbury and then at The Brickyard across the road from where we are now. We rented out the kitchen and served customers downstairs.

"We did lots of events too and were really focusing on that, but this unit came up for sale last summer and I enquired about it. I initially wasn’t thinking about having my own place, but the opportunity came up and I thought I’d give it a go. It was just the right place and the right time."

Now, the business has delivered more than 1,000 orders on GoGetters and is among Hitchin's most popular food spots.

Danny believes that doing things differently, and being one of just a few local businesses offering Neapolitan style pizza, has been key to that popularity.

The Comet: Sam's Pizza uses authentic Italian ingreidents.Sam's Pizza uses authentic Italian ingreidents. (Image: Dan Mountney)

"We were going to events and were selling out quite quickly. I maybe underestimated how well we’d do, but I quickly learned from my mistakes," he explained. 

"We got a lot of feedback, and people were saying they couldn’t wait for Sam’s to get its own place. People seemed to really like what we were doing.

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"We use authentic Italian ingredients, and we try to do things differently by experimenting with toppings, flour and things like that. There isn’t any other business in Hitchin or nearby doing what we’re doing."

And when you take a seat inside Sam's Pizza, you get the sense that it's not just the food that Danny is doing differently.

"I wanted to give it a warm feel, and make it look different from your traditional takeaway," he continued.

The Comet: Sam's previously operated from pop-up kitchens in Hitchin.Sam's previously operated from pop-up kitchens in Hitchin. (Image: Dan Mountney)

"One thing I do that maybe others don’t is light scented candles in the evenings, and that gives the place a homely feel. I didn’t want the typical bright lights of a takeaway.

"When people come here, I want them to have the experience, rather than it just be something they do when they can’t be bothered to cook. There’s nothing like having a pizza straight out the oven, so I want people to come and dine with us."

Now I'm sure you're asking yourself, why did Danny name his business Sam's Pizza?

"Whenever I meet people, they ask if I’m Sam, but my name is actually Danny. I always get people asking the question. It’s a long story and it’s become sort of a gimmick now," Danny revealed.

Danny previously worked in hospitality, and despite never owning a business before, he recounted showing entrepreneurial skills when still at school.

The Comet: Danny admitted the reason behind the Sam's Pizza name was a long story.Danny admitted the reason behind the Sam's Pizza name was a long story. (Image: Dan Mountney)

"Running Sam's has been a big task with a lot of responsibility. I’ve always been interested in business, but this is my first," he said.

"I studied business at Hitchin Boys’ School and I remember there was a national competition in Sixth Form called Make Your Mark with a Tenner. You got given £10 and had to make as much money from it as possible by doing business.

"My idea was that there was a lack of Indian food in our school, so I started selling authentic Indian food like curries and samosas. It did really well and I won the competition. I have no other business experience so maybe that was the start for me."

The cost of living crisis has also been a challenge to overcome, with Danny adding: "Running a business has been daunting, especially with the cost of living crisis.

"The energy prices have been a really issue as the pizza ovens use so much power. There were some days when there was no point even turning them on.

The Comet: Danny has big plans for Sam's Pizza.Danny has big plans for Sam's Pizza. (Image: Dan Mountney)

"People’s spending habits have also changed, but we’re looking to start doing deals so people feel like they can still enjoy our pizzas without pinching too much on their pockets."

Having started out with a single pizza oven in his garden, it's been a meteoric rise of Sam's Pizza, but Danny believes this is just the beginning for the business and is keen to see it expand in the future.

"We’re operating more as a takeaway at the moment, but I would like more people dining in," he said. 

"We’re looking to get outdoor seating and an alcohol licence, so we’re already trying to grow.

"The long-term goal would be to operate at another site. I’m born and raised in Hitchin, so I want the town to always be our headquarters, but in the future I want to expand."