From humble beginnings in Smithfield Market, to the heady heights of Heap’s, Martin & Vincenzo’s story is a simple tale of two men’s search for sizzling sausage perfection.
A Sausage Tale
Chef and gourmet sausage master Martin Heap together with Vincenzo Carbonara, his partner in all things gastronomy, are the chief ingredients behind the enduring success of the Heap’s and Simply Sausages brands. Like a well-established recipe, the pair’s skills and experiences have infused to create the Heap’s that the people of Greenwich now know and love.
Born from a desire to create the tastiest sausages in the country, Martin launched “Simply Sausages” on Smithfield Market back in 1991 to a rapturous reception. With throngs of crowds forming around the street to sample some of the 24 varieties of luxurious, yet affordable, sausages, it was soon clear that those sausages simply had to be made available to more and more people. And so, with the help of Vincenzo, Heap’s café was born. A place where people could mingle and taste, eat and be merry, and indulge in the finest foodie delights in London.
The rest, as they say, is history…
We’ve been doing this a while…
Heaps of History
Martin Heap, a man with a dream to create the country’s best sausages and make them available to the fine people of London, created the “Simply Sausages” brand and opened his first sausage shop, offering 24 varieties of luxury bangers. Each sausage was created with one aspiration in mind: to be, quite simply, the most delicious sausages anyone is ever likely to taste.
After just one day of trading, the word was already spreading about these luxurious, yet affordable, sausages that simply had to be tasted to be believed. The people of London embraced Martin and his sausages, with queues forming around the street, leading to the need to install queuing systems and the idea to serve coffee while people waited to sample some of Martin’s delicacies. Sausage shopping had never been such fun!
1992 - 2008
As menus expanded and demand grew at a whirlwind pace, Martin realised his scrumptious sausages just had to be made available to more and more people. And so, Simply Sausages shops were opened in quick succession across the capital and further afield. Now, the people of Soho, Strutton Ground, Victoria, Charing Cross and Bury St Edmonds could get to see what all this fuss about sausages was really about. Martin’s incredibly successful sausage shops were now shifting over 10 tonnes of sausages per week, with “Simply Sausages” quickly becoming a household name and much-loved favourite of the people of the South East. With this, the media quickly picked up on what was happening, and the gushing reviews started to flood in.
As the love for the “Simply Sausages” range continued to grow and grow, it was time to make them available to the masses. And so, the range was picked up by major retailers so that people across the whole country could get a little slice of sausage heaven.
As the Simply Sausage brand continued to impress, Martin cooked up the idea of opening a specialised sausage café in the heart of Greenwich, where locals could come to watch the sausages being made by hand and feast on delicious freshly-cooked delights such as the signature dish, sausage and mash, and butter pastry sausage rolls. The name of the sausage café you ask? Simply, “Heap’s”.
The opening of Heap’s Sausage Café was incredibly warmly received by the locals who were proud to have such a unique initiative that they could call their own, just around the corner. The café soon became a very popular meeting place, and a license to sell alcohol meant that visitors were able to enjoy a beer or a nice glass of wine with their meal while they chatted with friends and tucked into Martin’s ever-expanding menu. The cosy, relaxing and interactive atmosphere made Heap’s a must-visit spot for both tourists and locals alike.
2012: Along comes Vincenzo – As Martin’s sausage empire and food consultancy business continued to expand, Vincenzo Carbonara, a master chef and fellow sausage enthusiast, came on board to manage the day-to-day running of Heap’s. Vincenzo was soon a recognisable face around Greenwich as he cooked up and served up the gastronomic treats that the locals had become accustomed to.
2020: What a Year – A year most of us would probably like to forget, where after 12 wonderful years as Greenwich’s favourite sausage café, the Covid pandemic that brought so many challenges to the world forced Martin & Vincenzo into making some hard decisions. With the café’s intimate and close-contact setting, it was no longer viable to operate as a sit-in business. But, all was not lost. Martin & Vincenzo identified a need for a local, high-quality deli and farm store where people could come to purchase everything they might need to create their own gastro masterpieces at home. From locally-sourced cheeses and store cupboard essentials, to British wines and, of course, sausages, the Heap’s Deli is now a firm favourite for local shoppers and visitors to the area seeking the very best produce and service.