Jurgis ir Drakonas
With its first traces of success at Kaziukas Mugė in 2014, when it was still a mere idea of a mobile pizza – the brainchild of Tom Nicholson and his wife Beata, Jurgis ir Drakonas is now a renowned restaurant chain, with four venues in Vilnius and one in Kaunas.
Over the three years full of hard work and creativity, the restaurant has won over the hearts of people who love Italy, pizza, and comfort food of good quality, served with proper attention and care.
The immense heat and the blazing fire of the oven, very much resembling a fire breathing dragon, inspired the name of the restaurant, which goes very well with the name of one of the Nicholson children, George. This way it also reminds us of the legend of the Saint George and the Dragon. We can agree, the food is legendary too.
Tom claims that they wanted the restaurant to be simple, comfortable, and welcoming – a place they would themselves definitely go to. This also echoes in the choice of not reserving a table for anyone on weekends. “From day one, we decided there will be no reservations. We don’t want people standing in line when there are obviously empty tables. When I go there with my family, we wait in line too”, – he says.
The Taste of Sunshine
Visitors of J&D can enjoy a proper Italian pizza because Tom went to Italy and learned about pizza from its masters, from people who had it in their families for generations. However, he does not claim it is exactly like in Neapoli, because it evolves. “You learn the method, the ideas behind, and adapt them, to fit your vision. I call it NEOpolitan pizza.”, – he adds.
To get the true taste of Italy, the key products, like flour and cured meats, are delivered from Italy too. Most impressively – tomatoes – come from the hills of Vesuvius, – “You can really taste the sunshine in them”, – says Tom. However, it is important to note, that Jurgis ir Drakonas is not a pizzeria, or merely an Italian restaurant, they serve British and Lithuanian food too. So, they have some local farmers as well, who provide apple juice, honey, and other local ingredients.
Thinking Long Term
The feeling of a restaurant, and the quality of the food, as well as service, comes from the team. Tom believes in a happy team – “J&D is more than a restaurant, more than a pizza. It’s a whole family that we have. It’s important to have people who share our ideas, and have our values, and if we take care of our staff, the staff will in turn take care of our customers”.
The menu, getting the best ingredients from far away, keeping that bar high, requires effort and patience. Tom is clear, however, – “Do it properly or don’t do it at all.”, – he says. Such perception does pay off. Thinking long term allows to put a strong foundation, and aim for a better result that visitors can appreciate.
The team of J&D is expecting a Kaunas Gastro experience to be really fun and rewarding, since so many people are participating. Since they are used to doing things properly, we can be assured that this one will be proper too.