Leeds suburb is perfect location for my new pizzeria, says owner

Buca di Pizza, the former La Grillade site, Wellington Street, Leeds.

Buca di Pizza, the former La Grillade site, Wellington Street, Leeds.

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The owner of a city centre pizzeria and cocktail bar says a former Chapel Allerton pub building is the “perfect location” to set up a second site.

A new branch of Buca Di Pizza, which opened on Wellington Street in Leeds in late 2014, will open in the Grade II listed Stratford House building on Stainbeck Lane.

The Manor, Chapel Allerton, Leeds

The Manor, Chapel Allerton, Leeds

Geoff Thornton, who owns Buca with his brother, told the YEP that the restaurant will open soon and will have around 80 seats with a patio area at the front.

He said: “The exact design is still a bit in the air as we tend to work with what we are given and develop the look of the site on what we discover as we build.

“It will be pared back however, making as much use of the building’s features as we can. We have however decided on our enormous pizza oven, called a ‘Bull’, which arrived in the UK last week. It will be the centre piece of the open kitchen and used for all the cooking in the restaurant.

“People can expect to see the same interesting menu we have in Leeds with the same classic pizza bases with our imaginative toppings.

When we were made aware of the site we viewed it immediately and then begged the landlord to let it to us. Thankfully over pizza and wine he agreed.

Geoff Thornton

“We will also be taking our famous ‘Tutto’ offer [unlimited pizza with refills of house prosecco. house lager or selected soft drinks for £22] there for limited times of the week and have some other twists to make it more tailored to its new surroundings.”

The first Buca di Pizza took over the former La Grillade site on Wellington Street, which closed its doors just before Christmas 2013 after 30 years in business, due to rent issues.

Mr Thornton, whose pizzeria aims to “recreate traditional Italian classics with modern twists”, is planning to open D.O.C, a delicatessen and prosecco bar, above the restaurant, but will open the Chapel Allerton branch first.

He said: “We’ve worked really hard over the last two years to develop Buca di Pizza into what we think is a strong concept.

“Having owned champagne bars, pubs, self-serve beer bars, a French bar and a huge circuit bar we always wanted a single concept to be able to work with, expand and grow; for us Buca is it.

“As children we spent a lot of time in Italy on Lake Iseo due to parents work and developed the love of pizza there. It’s perfect for us then to be working and adapting a lifetime’s love of this food into our new business.

“A strong concept however needs to be able to adapt to its surroundings and we like the idea of suburb trading as it’s much more interesting than the city.

“We have and are looking at Manchester and its outer districts as my brother and partner live there but Chapel Allerton sort of found us while we were looking elsewhere.

“When we were made aware of the site we viewed it immediately and then begged the landlord to let it to us. Thankfully over pizza and wine he agreed.

“The location for us is perfect; it has a great mix of space, an exterior area plus the restaurant scene in Chapel Allerton is excellent and the clientele discerning so we will be in good company and kept on our toes.”

An application to turn the Grade II listed building on Stainbeck Lane into two restaurants and two extra flats was approved in April.

The Manor, a specialist sports pub based at Stratford House, closed down last year because of a “lack of commercial success”.

The building’s owners said in their application that they were surprised the previous use of the building was not more successful.