Historic Leeds eatery closes its doors in restaurant swap

Solos Psarias has converted his parents' historic Olive Tree restaurant in Rodley into Georgio's, an Italian.

Solos Psarias has converted his parents' historic Olive Tree restaurant in Rodley into Georgio's, an Italian.

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Longstanding Rodley eatery, The Olive Tree, has closed its doors after 29 years - as part of a ‘restaurant swap’ with another family enterprise.

Husband and wife restaurateurs George and Vasoulla Psarias have given the keys to their Victorian stone-built venue to son Solos, to expand his Italian restaurant chain Georgio’s.

George and Vasoulla Psarias pictured in 2006, celebrating 20 years of the Olive Tree Restaurant in Rodley.

George and Vasoulla Psarias pictured in 2006, celebrating 20 years of the Olive Tree Restaurant in Rodley.

Solos was on the hunt for a second venue after the success of his Headingley branch, which opened in 2010, and his parents stepped into help - although they admit with mixed emotions.

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George told the YEP: “It’s a bit sad but also exciting. We’ve been here for so long, it has sentimental value. But we have a balance - we still have two Olive Trees (in Headingley and Chapel Allerton) and now two Georgio’s.”

When the Olive Tree first opened its doors in Rodley in 1986, there was only a handful of other restaurants in Leeds. That same year it won the Yorkshire Evening Post’s ‘Restaurant of the Year’ award - in what was the first of many accolades.

George said: “It’s down to the customers - especially our regular customers - keeping us going for 29 years. We’re so grateful to them for supporting us.”

Georgio’s restaurant chain is also a family affair - with George and Vasoulla heavily involved - and the Rodley branch has now been open two weeks.

George said: “We’ve had a good reaction from people. Hopefully we’ll get some new faces as well to add to our existing customers. We’re very excited.”

Solos, 33, said the building has been given a “new lease of life,” adding: “Georgio’s is a great success story in Headingley, so we thought we’d open one here. People have been quite open to trying it because it’s the same ownership. It’s been a great success so far.”

He said one of the many reasons for the move was the Rodley venue can host a lot of weddings and large parties.

“It’s a beautiful, listed building which is unique. It has a lot of history, with gardens, a bar area and private function rooms. Now being an Italian restaurant, we’re drumming up a lot of interest for large parties.”

Georgio’s is open seven days a week. Visit www.giorgiosrestaurant.co.uk.

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