​​Your trusted voice when it comes to dining out in Sunderland. Matthew Thomas takes a trip to Proven People in Sunderland, a new pizza parlour on Burdon Road to check out the new independent already proving their worth… 


A vibrant food hangout unlike anything else in Sunderland… 


Proven People, new pizza parlour in Sunderland


There’s been a hive of activity across Sunderland city centre in recent months. The city has seen a raft of new businesses join an ever-growing network of independents in Sunderland and more businesses are re-thinking and transforming their offering following an incredibly difficult 16 months for the city.

One of the busiest spots for activity both exterior and interior has been at 1-2 Burdon Road. What was once home to beloved pizza business (talk about coincidence) Divino’s, a brand new business with a completely overhauled offering has set up shop and it’s already proving a major hit. 

Proven People is Sunderland’s latest food venture. It first opened up on 2 July and quickly became one of the hottest new venues to try out here in the North East. 

It isn’t your regular run-of-the-mill Italian/pizza takeaway-restaurant hybrid, it’s a stunning, New York style restaurant that prides itself on hand-stretched, made on-site food. 



PP also stock craft beers from local brewers and has one of the North East’s finest collections of natural wines and cocktails. 

The brainchild of friends Lee Forster, Paul Stewart and Elliot Towsey, Proven People not only serve up beautiful hand-stretched pizza, they’ve also tapped into the North East’s vibrant music scene and adding an extra slice of quality in the form of live DJs and a meticulously curated playlist of disco, funk and Ibiza classics throughout the weekend. 



What we ate… 



Proven People’s pizza is made using the finest ingredients. It all starts with their refined house blend of ‘00’ flour, fior di latte cheese and Calabrian san marzano tomatoes and is, simply put, sensational. 

First to arrive at the table is their ‘Fiorentina’; it’s a 12”, light and airy sourdough baked pizza crust that’s topped with their incredible tomato sauce blend, freshly cut fior di latte, gorgonzola cheese, roast red onion, wild mixed mushrooms and fresh spinach leaves. 



A refreshing treat for the tastebuds and one that’ll rival any veggie crust in the North East – shoutout to caramelised red onions the team included – they were pretty special… 

No sooner had we finished digesting (both mentally and physically) the opening dish, a wonderful tray of truffle and parmesan-littered, deep-fried and served with a splattering of fresh sea salt arrived to compliment the main meals. 

The pizza party continues as one of Proven People’s signature slices slides into action. The roast duck (yes roast duck!) is an aromatic sensation and one that must be tried by all those who visit. 

Another 12” crust, this particular stunner features Proven People’s hoi sin sauce, fior di latte, oven roast duck, pickled cucumber, spring onion, fresh coriander and finished with a delightful blend of Szechuan seasoning.  

We’re fanatical about dips – we all know that they’re a small element that has a major impact on whether one devours pizza or simply idles through the eating experience uninspired and unimpressed. 

Thankfully for us, you, whoever – Proven’s dips are unbelievably good and probably the most diverse we’ve seen.

Yes, there’s your usual garlic mayo, but also on the menu are the likes of chilli oil, salsa verde and blue cheese. These particular beauties amplify the taste sensation all evening long. 



A building that oozes personality… 



Standing opposite the Sunderland Museum & Winter Gardens, Proven People’s clean, crisp exterior shines bright as the hustle and bustle of city life races on by. 

Proven People have retained the beautiful, original window frames and added a delicious lick of white paint to accentuate the window space. The bubblegum pink and royal blue font colours are a visually pleasing touch too. 

Having enjoyed a wall of aromatic herbs and spices upon walking through the front door, a beautifully rustic colour scheme is the first of many striking features to hit home. 

There’s a multitude of blues, yellows and golds littered across the back wall, whereas the soft-pink and pastel colour tiles of the bar area add a brilliant, yet subtle contrast to the obvious variety of personalities running throughout the restaurant.

Proven People is exactly what this corner of Sunderland required, nevermind needed. It’s a vibrant hangout, a place where people can bond over great food, share a few drinks and lose themselves in top-quality music from the brightest talents come the weekend. 

It has nothing to prove – it’s already a gem in Sunderland’s hospitality offering… 


Have you been to Proven People? Get in touch online. Twitter: @SunderlandVibe, Instagram: @SunderlandVibe, Facebook: @SunderlandVibe.

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