City Buzz: New restaurants flock to city centre

Jonathan Simon, founder of Pieminister. Pic: Jonathan Gawthorpe.
Jonathan Simon, founder of Pieminister. Pic: Jonathan Gawthorpe.
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WHO doesn’t love pies?

If you’re in the minority that doesn’t, I imagine that’s about to change, because gourmet pie company Pieminister is dishing up some tasty reasons to change your mind.

The family-run company’s new Leeds venue opens its doors this week, and City Buzz had a sneak peek around before the launch.

As avid pie fans, we were not disappointed.

The site is Pieminister’s biggest yet and takes over the former Oxfam shop on Duncan Street.

The Bristol-based business snapped up the building in a prime spot opposite the Corn Exchange last year and has spent the past three months stripping away the floor, walls and ceilings to reveal the original brickwork.

You can tell lot of care has gone into the revamp, and when we met owner Jon Simon it was clear he’d put his heart and soul into the restaurant.

“It has been far and away our most ambitious,” he said.

“This restaurant is three times bigger than anything we have done before, and it’s certainly been three times more expensive!”

Jon owns nine other sites across the country but was keen to invest in Leeds.

He added: “The others are small coffee shop types but this is a whole different experience, moving into the fast, casual dining territory...with cocktails!

“We weren’t sure if we wanted to invest in London yet, but Leeds is like the London of the north, so we thought we’d try it out here first.

“There is such a good vibe here, and although we’ve got some competition, the opportunities in Leeds mean diners are spoiled for choice.”

The modern restaurant is set over two floors with a quirky indoor ‘shed’ area on the ground floor that caught our eye as we walked in, as did the menu.

With 15 different pie creations as well as hot pots, salads and ice cream pies, there’s something for even the biggest pie-hater.

The cocktail menu is also pretty extensive, with classics, sours and specials, as well as wine, prosecco and an ale, lager and cider menu too.

The restaurant officially opens on Monday, May 11, but if you pop down there this week you might be able to snap up a pie for half price.

It’s such an interesting time for Duncan Street, Boar Lane and the Corn Exchange area at the moment.

As we’ve previously mentioned, burger joint Five Guys is set to open next to Pieminister soon.

And we understand a brand new Venezuelan street food eatery is opening next door.

We understand the new venture will be called Caracas Grill and will host live music as well as serving up delicious street food.

Trendy t-shirt company Tee Boy also looks like it’s taking up a neighbouring site, so this area really is on the up.

With all these new additions, it’s difficult to think what may have sparked the investment in this part of town, but there’s no denying that Red’s True BBQ would have played a part in it.

The momentum seems to be continuing and hopefully these new additions will help bring some footfall back to this area and boost nearby businesses on Call Lane at the same time.

With the £150m Victoria Gate just up the road, this side of town really could go from strength to strength.