San Carlo Group buys Flying Pizza

22 February 2011
San Carlo Group buys Flying Pizza

Casual dining company San Carlo Group has bought the well-known Flying Pizza restaurant in Leeds out of administration and plans to spend £1m revamping the site.

Flying Pizza went into administration on Friday and was snapped up by San Carlo in a deal completed last night. It is the first suburban restaurant for San Carlo, which has sites in Leeds, Manchester, Birmingham, Bristol, Leicester and Liverpool, as well as Signor Sassi in London.

San Carlo co-owner Marcello Di Stefano told that the group had yet to make a final decision on how the restaurant would be branded, although it would respect the history of the site. "Flying Pizza holds a lot of nostalgia for people in Leeds because it has been going for so many years. In terms of Italian restaurants it was probably one of the best known restaurants in the area. We are looking to spend upwards of £1m refurbishing it to take it back to where it used to be."

The restaurant's food offering is likely to mirror that of San Carlo although Di Stefano said it was likely to keep some of Flying Pizza's best-known dishes.

Meanwhile he revealed that the company was still looking for another San Carlo site in Scotland, either in Glasgow or Edinburgh, as well as a London site for its San Carlo Ciccheiti concept. The firm opened the first of its Venetian-style tapas Cichetti restaurants in Manchester last year and has enjoyed "fantastic success", according to Di Stefano.

And he signalled that the company could open more suburban sites in the future: "The pub industry has suffered over the years and bar/restaurants in the suburbs have become very popular. They are becoming more of a meeting place. The pub used to hold that but doesn't have it as much any more," he said.

How the San Carlo restaurant group is defying the recession >>

By Neil Gerrard

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