Wellington’s king of pizza: Tommy Millions

New York-inspired pizza by the slice, made Wellington-style and available from three inner-city locations

Tommy Millions pizza Courtenay Place exterior daylight with people

Where

Wellington CBD

Contact

Email

Wellington’s favourite pizza almost didn’t happen. Fresh out of law school, Tom Kirton took a year of travelling before starting out in the corporate world which is when his obsession with pizza began.

Tom ate his first slice in Whistler, Canada and it stuck with him, so that when he arrived in New York he immediately started seeking out slices and asking locals for their favourite spots. Arriving at Coney Island, locals told him that he was just around the corner from famous New York pizzeria Totonno's, a family-run establishment that’s been making pizza since 1921.

Tommy Millions pizza Courtenay Place pizza display
Tommy Millions pizza menu board Courtenay Place
Tommy Millions pizza pie on display
Tommy Millions pizza boxes and staff

Tom and his friend ordered a whole pie and watched as it was made. As they sat on the beach to watch the sunset and eat the pizza, Tom was properly hooked. From there on, he couldn’t stop thinking about pizza, seeking out slices and talking to pizza makers as he continued his travels around the States.

Returning home to Wellington and sitting behind the desk of his first corporate role, Tom still couldn’t stop thinking about pizza, so he quit his day job and went to talk to well-known Italian restauranteurs Leonardo and Lorenzo Bresolin. Tom spent some timing working at Scopa, their popular Italian eatery on Cuba Street, to give him an understanding of what it took to make pizza professionally. 

On 4 July, 2012, American Independence Day, Tom opened his first Tommy Millions on Courtenay Place in a converted heritage Edwardian building and the former Courtenay Place men’s toilets. Since then he’s opened stores on Featherston Street and at Press Hall on Willis Street, but the ethos has remained the same: large pieces of pizza by the slice to takeaway, affordably priced and using local ingredients.   

 

I had got myself a slice knowing practically nothing about it. Instantly I was transported – it took me straight to the place where I ate my first New York slice

Sam Scott, The Spinoff

Tommy Millions pizza Courtenay Place staff member holding a pizza behind counter

Since the beginning, Tom has always tried to use as many local ingredients as possible to make his pizza and he’s proud that all of the cheese they use comes from Massimo’s Italian Cheeses in Auckland – an artisan maker who started his business at the same time as Tommy Millions.

“We try to use New Zealand ingredients to make New York-inspired pizzas. We don’t say New York-style as we’re not in New York – it’s a Wellington take on what you might find on the street in New York.

“Our pizza is democratic and accessible – we don’t want to be too expensive or too fancy, it’s for anybody from kids to grandparents, to tourists and people out partying. Our pizza is something everyone can enjoy and afford.”

Tommy Millions pizza exterior at night Courtenay Place

For Tom, staying open late – really late, 4am on Friday and Saturday nights – was an important service that he wanted to provide on Courtenay Place. With the Tommy Millions neon signs glowing into the early hours, Tommy Millions has become an institution of nightlife in Wellington and a slice of Tommy’s features at the beginning, middle or end of many good nights out in the capital.

Three locations in Wellington

CORNER COURTENAY & TARANAKI
CORNER FEATHERSTON & JOHNSTON
PRESS HALL (78 WILLIS STREET)

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