The emotional return to the pizzeria that was destroyed in an arson attack

Happy customers queued since 5 a.m. ahead of the reopening of the popular pizzeria which was destroyed in the arson attack.

Great British Pizza Co in Margate was destroyed by fire in October last year, but today in an “emotional” awakening the team opened their doors to throngs of diners to take part in the action.

Owner Lisa Richards, right, with restaurant manager at GB Pizza in Margate

To celebrate the new renovation, owner Lisa Richards is giving two lucky customers – one of whom is camping outside the premises since the early hours – free pizza every day for life.

Ms Richards explained what the opening meant to her: “I had never made an insurance claim before, and when I asked them if we could open before Christmas, they said ‘which Christmas?’.”

Returning customers have been long overdue, but Ms Richards was overwhelmed with support as people rallied together to complete construction within four weeks of claims finalizing.

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The restaurant owner added: “I don’t want to get emotional – but there will be tears later.

“My staff is amazing and have worked very hard.”

Margate’s business underwent major renovations after the fire. Image: GB Pizza/ Instagram

The team has been “terribly busy” but is cheering the big day toast, and the booth is packed with hungry pizza lovers.

Two of them, Tamzin Hooker and Eleanor Blake, came every week before the fire.

Ms Hooker said: “We are very happy to be back. We miss him so much, to be back is amazing.

“The food is delicious here. We use the staff’s first names – they still remember our order.

Ms Blake added: “When we heard what had happened we couldn’t believe it.

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“The way they are doing it now is just amazing.”

GB Pizza Co customers Eleanor Blake and Tazmin Hooker came every week before the fire
GB Pizza Co in Margate has reopened after being the victim of an arson attack. Image: GB Pizza/ Instagram

According to the women, the pizza is just as good now – if not better.

Another eager customer is Ben Carter, who also frequents the establishment regularly.

He recalled: “I was struck by the fire. I think that’s really sad.

“Everyone here works so hard and they go above and beyond in their customer service and do anything they can to help.

“It’s like a big family and knowing that all these people had lost their jobs at that point and not knowing if it was ever going to come back was pretty sad.”

Ben Carter is happy to be back at the Margate pizza parlor

GB Pizza is “right in the middle of everything” in the seaside town, making it a “hub” for the community, he says.

He explained how you can watch the sunset on the steps of Margate Main Sands with drinks and delicious food from the restaurant.

Mr Carter concluded: “I’m a regular and happy to be back.

“It’s like a little family and the staff are so friendly and chat to everyone.

“It’s just a great environment to be in.”

A large amount of damage was caused by fire. Image: GB Pizza/ Instagram

Also enjoying the meal was the “pizza loving” family of three.

Tony Ryan said: “We used it a few times before the fire.

It’s a great pizza compared to what you can get around here.

His son Bailey exclaimed: “It’s better than Pizza Express.”

Mr Ryan continued, “We were shocked by the arson, I think everyone was.

Damage after Andrew Miller’s arsonist burned down the business. Image: GB Pizza/ Instagram

“It took a while to reopen but now it is up and running and it feels good to be back. Usually I don’t like pizza, but it’s delicious here.”

The restaurant was set on fire by 48-year-old Andrew Miller who was singing “I’m a firestarter – a twisted firestarter” while he was being detained.

It is later revealed that a passing police officer failed to intervene when he saw Miller starting a fire in the doorway of the business.

Despite the damage, the public flocked to help staff with clean-up operations.

GB Pizza Co is offering 50% off food from Monday to Wednesday this week to celebrate its launch.

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