How a taxi driver inspired the creator of Glasgow's Jimmy Style Italian dishes

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The chef behind one of the most famous dishes in Glasgow's Italian dining scene has revealed how a local taxi driver inspired its name. 

Retired chef Pino Livia, who turned 73 on Christmas Day, is the inventor of Jimmy Style – the popular half pizza, half pasta sharing dish first served by family restaurant Di Maggio’s in Glasgow in the 1980s

The Italian, who moved to Scotland from native Sicily to live with his Glaswegian wife Alison 50 years ago, was inspired to create the dish after watching diners splitting pizza and pastas to share at Di Maggio’s Shawlands restaurant – which diners at the time queued around the corner to visit. 

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All Pino needed was a name, and he immediately found it by casting his mind back to his arrival in Glasgow in 1973.

“The taxi driver said to me ‘£5 please, Jimmy’, and I thought – who the heck is, Jimmy?,’ Pino explained. “Then it dawned on me, in Glasgow, everybody is called Jimmy, so that’s what we called the dish for everybody – Jimmy Style.” He added: “I’d watch table after table cutting the pizzas and pastas and passing round the plates. I just thought – we should be doing the hard work for them. That’s how it all started.”

While pizza and pasta are served as separate courses in Pino’s native Italy, in Scotland diners love to enjoy them together, and the dish – a combination of any pizza and pasta, as long as they are shared between two – has since been ordered hundreds of thousands of times since across Di Maggio’s many Italian American style restaurants over the years. 

The half-and-half concept has proved so popular it has been adopted by several other notable Italian restaurant chains, with many retaining the Jimmy Style moniker. 

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“It’s [Jimmy Style] not something we’d do in Italy – but it belongs to Scotland and is so popular with everybody. Couples love it, families love it, it’s part of dining culture here.” 

Jimmy Style continues to be one of Di Maggio’s most popular dishes, with the half-and-half combo ordered more than 23,000 times in 2023 alone. Andrea added “Many diners come here specifically for Jimmy Style; they already know what combination they’re having when they’re walking through the revolving doors. A stalwart on the menu, it’s a great way to enjoy a meal with friends and to try different things. I’m sure Jimmy Style will be on the menu as long as Di Maggio’s is around.” Mario Gizzi, who founded the Di Maggio Restaurant Group (DRG) – which has grown to become Scotland’s largest independent restaurant group – with uncle Joe Conetta, and now runs the business with cousin Tony, said: “Jimmy Style is synonymous with Di Maggio’s and everything the restaurant is about – family fun, sharing, and good times. 

“The name has transcended Di Maggio’s and is now just what people say when they think ‘half and half’. It’s amazing to think that it started 40 years ago at  Di Maggio’s – we’re very proud of it.”

 To celebrate Jimmy Style this January, Di Maggio’s is offering diners half price Jimmy Style to anyone called James, Jamie, or Jimmy this January. Just show the staff you’re a real life “Jimmy” by showing ID at the front desk and both you and whoever you want to share it with will receive your Jimmy Style half price

"Jimmy January'' will be available at Di Maggio’s Royal Exchange Square, East Kilbride and Theatreland until January 31st.

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