Leeds restaurateur charts his culinary journey from family's The Olive Tree to Tasty cafe

Solos Psarias was born into a family of restaurateurs.

By Abbey Maclure
Saturday, 16th July 2022, 4:30 pm

Among the founding fathers of Mediterranean cuisine in Leeds, the Psarias family opened The Olive Tree in Ilkley in 1982 - later moving to Rodley.

After helping his family with The Olive Tree's expansion, Solos founded Georgio's in Headingley in 2010 and later ran Charlie Brett's.

Now he is taking on a new venture, as he partners up with long-time friend Paul Boster to run Tasty cafe and catering company, as well as the Blackmoor restaurant and events space in Moor Allerton Golf Course.

Solos Psarias, 39, was born into the food business (Photo: Jonathan Gawthorpe)

“I was born into the business," Solos, 39, told the Yorkshire Evening Post.

"Hospitality is part of my identity. I was well educated, went to a good school and did a masters in marketing - and worked in marketing for a couple of years.

“Then we grew the Olive Tree chain exponentially and I felt it was my duty to support the family business. I had a passion for it and I still have that passion to this day.”

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Solos Psarias at the Blackmoor restaurant and events space at Moor Allerton Golf Couse (Photo: Jonathan Gawthorpe)

There have been many highlights of Solos' career, including scooping awards with The Olive Tree and appearing in Marco Pierre White's Kitchen Wars on Channel 5.

Solos said: "That was a really big achievement for me - he’s a hero of mine.

"We didn’t get into the final, but we got the chance to meet Marco many times and we cooked him a traditional Mezze.

"He absolutely loved the food, he said the taramasalata we made was like the caviar they used to have at his restaurant La Roche."

The Olive Tree has since closed and Georgio's is now thriving on its own, so it was the perfect time for Solos to get stuck in with Tasty and Blackmoor.

Tasty was founded by Paul and Rebecca Boster in 2008 and now boasts a cafe in Oakwood, as well as offering catering services.

“It’s a mini hospitality hub and everyone is a friend who comes to Tasty," Solos said.

"It's unique because if you're looking for a healthy option, you can have our healthy shakes or our Buddha bowls, which are our most popular dishes.

"Or, you can have something more naughty - like cronuts, donuts and American-style burgers. It’s a diverse menu."

Catering for corporate events is something Solos was keen to dip his toes into and after surviving the pandemic, that arm of the Tasty and Blackmoor business is booming.

"It’s got massive for us and the feedback is tremendous," Solos said.

"We’ve seen a big demand in the corporate world as people return to the offices - there’s more boardroom meetings and networking events.

"People like to have something different, not just the basic food. We can cater for all requirements."

“The Leeds food scene is so diverse now," Solos added.

"We were one of the founding fathers of our cuisine and it took many years to educate people to try something a little bit different.

"It’s great how open people are now. The Leeds scene has an abundance of beautiful restaurants - and they’re all busy.”