Hospitality veterans to open Convive restaurant at Weetwood Hall estate

By Emma Eversham contact

- Last updated on GMT

Martin Pickles (left) with Martin Hicks (right) toast their new venture together
Martin Pickles (left) with Martin Hicks (right) toast their new venture together

Related tags: Restaurant

Martin Pickles, the former owner of Flying Pizza in Roundhay, has joined forces with friend and Weetwood Hall managing director Martin Hicks to launch Mediterranean restaurant Convive. 

The pair, who have more than 60 years' experience in the hospitality between them, will open the £2m 120-cover restaurant on the University of Leeds-owned Weetwood Hall estate next February. 

Pickles said the new venue, which will operate separately from the Weetwood Hall estate, was what Leeds had been 'crying out for'. The restaurateur, who ran Flying Pizza for 10 years before running the Garrick Club's restaurants and private dining rooms, will manage the restaurant as head of operations. 

He said: "I’m delighted to be back in the city I love and delivering the most exciting restaurant Leeds will have seen in many years. Leeds has a bustling restaurant and dining culture it can be proud of and I’m thrilled to be back in the thick of the action bringing such a fantastic new dining experience to the table.

"Working with Martin Hicks and the team behind the success at Weetwood Hall coupled with my 30 years in the business mainly spent in London, is a fantastic opportunity for me personally and I’m looking forward to it immensely."

Convive will be twinned with Mediterranean restaurants across Europe with plans to hold work exchanges for chefs. Many ingredients used in the kitchens will be sourced from local farms and the restaurant opening will create 25 new jobs.  

Hicks, who is responsible for running the Weetwood Hall conference venue, has also pledged to gift aid profits from Convive to the University of Leeds.  

He added: "This is really exciting news for Leeds and I’m genuinely excited on so many levels.

"Firstly, the food and beverage offering will be first-class and Convive will more than meet a demand that I identified several years ago. The ambience will focus on a fine balance between social dining with friends or family and the alfresco dining option and fresh Mediterranean dishes.

"Secondly, the increased gift aid to the University of Leeds is a unique and very positive gesture that benefits the University, its students and the city as a whole, I’m not aware of any other commercial restaurant that operates in this way. And finally, I’m simply excited about the prospect of working with an old friend.” 

Related topics: Business, Venues, People, Restaurants

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