Leeds pizza eatery to fly high again

FAMILY MATTER: Carlo and Marcello Distefano.
FAMILY MATTER: Carlo and Marcello Distefano.
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THE new owners of the renowned Flying Pizza restaurant in Leeds have spoken of their pride at buying the venue – and revealed they are keeping the famous name.

As reported in the YEP, restaurant group San Carlo, owners of San Carlo on South Parade in Leeds city centre, bought the Roundhay venue after it went into administration in February.

San Carlo’s father-and-son owners, Carlo and Marcello Distefano, have now revealed a planned £1m refurbishment of the restaurant, which will re-open as San Carlo’s Flying Pizza at the end of June.

The pair wanted to keep the Flying Pizza name because they used to live in Roundhay and Carlo would regularly take Marcello to the restaurant as a youngster.

Marcello, the firm’s director, told the YEP: “We used to have our own table and we would go there every Sunday.

“It’s a fond childhood memory of mine, so when we decided to buy it, it wasn’t just a business decision, it’s because our hearts were really in it.”

San Carlo’s Flying Pizza will include a larger outdoor dining area, a new bar, improved fixtures and fittings and a new menu featuring some of the chain’s best-known dishes.

The Flying Pizza’s staff are all being kept on, with San Carlo doubling the restaurant’s workforce.

The firm opened its South Parade branch last Autumn – and Carlo said the chance to add the Flying Pizza to the group’s collection was too good to miss.

The Flying Pizza opened on Street Lane, Roundhay, in 1974 and quickly became a popular haunt of business people, celebrities and loyal customers.

But growing competition and the recession led to a downturn in fortunes for former owner Martin Pickles and the restaurant went into voluntary liquidation in February.

San Carlo now owns nine restaurants in the UK.

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