Luigia, successful pizzerias in Switzerland and Dubai

Since 2010, Coppola and Guarnaccia are working hard to serve good Italian pizza abroad. With 7 restaurants, there’s more to come

Pizzerie Luigia, 7 restaurants in Switzerland and

Pizzerie Luigia, 7 restaurants in Switzerland and Dubai (in the photo, the first location in Geneva)

Seven restaurants in Switzerland – the first in Geneva, opened in 2010, the latest recently opened in Sion – and Dubai and there’s more to come, even overseas. Many of these serve up to 1000 people each day, with over 200 collaborators and a revenue of 30 million francs. Luigia, as a group, has remarkable numbers; but this would be of little importance if they weren’t paired with the smiles of those welcoming the guests in every restaurant, with the delicious offer– see Polpo alla Luciana, worth scooping the sauce with some bread at the end, and a masterful Neapolitan ragù, as well as the pizzas, which stand out compared to the average local competition – and with the enthusiasm and attention of Enrico Coppola, a pizzaiolo from Piedmont, but originally from South Italy, who was already responsible for the success of Totò&Macario on top of being the Italian world champion and vice-champion of Neapolitan pizza.

When in 2010 Luigi Guarnaccia – founder of the first home delivery pizza business in Italy and owner of other restaurants in Geneva – met him thanks to a common friend, chef Davide Palluda, and asked him to help him run a new pizzeria in an ex garage in Rue Adrien Lachenal, on Geneva’s rive gaucheEnrico didn’t think twice and moved to the Canton of Geneva. This is when the first Luigia restaurant was born – named after both of their grandmothers – in and old garage.

Pizza with tomato sauce, Parma ham, shaved Grana Padano, fried green peppers 

Pizza with tomato sauce, Parma ham, shaved Grana Padano, fried green peppers 

The goal – fully reached, as proven by the success of their restaurants and the awards they’ve received– is to export “the best of Italy”, focusing on simple and straightforward yet authentic flavours, on raw materials that only arrive from Italy and that Enrico selects personally – starting from the fior di latte from Agerola and the piennolo cherry tomatoes, both of which have a special section in the menu– and on a genuinely warm hospitality, à l’italienne.

But there’s also an evident Swiss management, where every detail – from training the staff of every restaurant to service timing – is part of a precise mechanism. For instance, they pay attention to every logistic detail – the function currently relying on two locations, in Torino and Switzerland, but soon to double so as to handle internationalisation needs efficiently – and, also thanks to the intervention of an investment fund that decided to believe in the Accademia Luigia project, a structure dedicated to the in-house training of current and future collaborators of the group’s restaurants, currently 200 people.

Luigi Guarnaccia and Enrico Coppola

Luigi Guarnaccia and Enrico Coppola

Swiss rigour, but without forsaking the Italian “heart”: «We’re not a chain - Enrico points out – but a group that shares ideas and goals; firstly, exporting the good things we do in Italy around the world». How about pizza? It is handed to a staff of pizzaioli guided and coordinated by Claudiu Cotarlici; from Cetarese (with piennolo tomato, garlic, basil, extra virgin olive oil and anchovies) to Luigia, divided in three “petals” of pizza (or presented in a “single-portion” version, with just one petal, Luigina) seasoned with buffalo milk mozzarella, smoked scamorza, champignon mushrooms, cooked ham, truffle cream and seasonal fresh truffle.

Translated into English by Slawka G. Scarso


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