‘We wish we could go on’ says owner of Bobby’s Sweet Centre as Leeds first Indian takeaway closes

Closing down of Bobby's takeaway, on Roundhay Road, Leeds, after 43 years of business in Leeds. The shop in 1984, with NarinderThukral standing outside.
Closing down of Bobby's takeaway, on Roundhay Road, Leeds, after 43 years of business in Leeds. The shop in 1984, with NarinderThukral standing outside.
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A chapter in Leeds’ culinary history closed for good this weekend with the news that the city’s first ever Indian takeaway was shutting down after 43 years.

Bobby’s Sweet Centre on Roundhay Road first opened in 1974 but served its last customer on Saturday - marking the end of an era for the family-run business and for the city.

Closing down of Bobby's takeaway, on Roundhay Road, Leeds, after 43 years of business in Leeds. Brothers (left to right) Tajinder, Rajinder, and Narinder Thukral, outside their shop.

Closing down of Bobby's takeaway, on Roundhay Road, Leeds, after 43 years of business in Leeds. Brothers (left to right) Tajinder, Rajinder, and Narinder Thukral, outside their shop.

It was founded by businessman Ram Murti Thukral, now 90, in response to customers at his Indian/English grocery, Bayswater Stores, down the road asking for hot Indian food.

His three sons - Tajinder, 53, Rajinder, 55 and Narinder, 60, - later took over the business but have now made the tough decision to close, to spend more time with family.

Tajinder said: “It’s very hard. Our regular customers of 43 years are all gutted as well. We wish we could go on and on really, but all good things come to an end. We are all disappointed that we can’t go on a bit longer - maybe seven more years and reach our golden jubilee.”

Brother Narinder, 60, who has worked at the takeaway as chef since it first opened, said he remembers his father deliberating over whether to close the grocery and start a takeaway. He said: “At the grocery, people were asking why he didn’t open a curry house as there was nothing like that around here. People were coming in asking for samosas and pakoaras. So my dad took a gamble and just said ‘let’s try’.”

Narinder said he used traditional recipes for all the dishes and said the business’s longevity was also down to its loyal customers.

“Customers have lifted me up all the time. Without them, we are nothing really. The customer is most important. The community has been very good to us- that’s where we are boosted all the time. I’m very proud of our customers,” he said.

Tajinder added that he was proud of the legacy left by his father’s decision to take the risk and open the takeaway.

“He broke the ground. And history speaks for itself - there are so many on Roundhay Road now. I’m very proud. If he hadn’t opened this and got all the regular customers, we would have missed out on all this experience of the past 43 years.”

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