January 18, 2019
Take a new look at the Arts
Leeds stalwart Arts Cafe is under new ownership
A Leeds stalwart is under new ownership for the first time in 24 years. Arts Cafe, now named simply “Arts”, is located amidst the city centre hustle and bustle of Call Lane, promising to become the neighbourhood restaurant in the city centre.
One of Leeds’ original independent cafe bars, it opened in September 1994. Since then, Arts has maintained acclaim as one of Leeds’ favourite eateries.
New Owners, New Food
Arts wants to build on its reputation for serving up great tasting food, cooked using the finest, freshest local produce.
Arts serves classic brunch on weekends (10am-3pm), a relaxed lunch menu consisting of informal ‘plates’ (like the Eastern plate, featuring red lentil & butterbean dhal, and pakoras) alongside soups, salads, and heartier mains (such as beef brisket bourguignon with herb mash). Monday-Saturday, 12-5pm.
For evening, the A La Carte menu (Monday-Saturday, 5pm-10pm) offers some more unusual and experimental dishes, from miso-charred aubergine with tahini mayonnaise, pickled kohlrabi and dukkah, to lamb shank on a mixed bean and smoked paprika ragù with mint yoghurt. Many items on the A La Carte are available (monday to Friday) in a Prix Fixe menu, offering 2 courses for £16 or 3 courses for £20.
Arts’ USP? Their walls are bedecked in regularly changing artworks by local up-and-coming artists. This gallery feel fits their relaxed atmosphere, whether you’re grabbing a lunchtime bit or going out for an evening celebration.
One of Leeds’ most exciting venue and events companies have taken the reigns as the new owners, which is something they find both exciting and a privilege. “It’s important to retain Arts’ core values”, Stu Butterworth (Director New Citizens) notes, “and ensure a strong future for the venue”.
New Citizens are the company behind the massively successful Chow Down events this summer in Halifax’s Piece Hall, as well as Canal Mills event space and their pop-up restaurant, Workshop. Matt Long (Director at New Citizens) and Stu will be maintaining all that history as well as adding their own, under their new ownership of Arts:
“It’s a staple of the indie scene in Leeds, with a lot of history and heritage that we didn’t want to lose. We don’t want to completely change the concept, more bring it up to date and give it a refresh. We’re still maintaining the gallery element of the venue and will be displaying works from exciting artists on a 4 week rotation.”
Working with the existing team, Matt and Stu have had “lots of fun” enhancing and modernising the food and drink offering, as well as making some changes and refreshes to the interior, keeping a Leeds institution current and well-maintained.
Look out for Arts’ new website and branding in the coming weeks, as well as a new menu, which still highlights provenance and high quality. A Leeds legacy continues.
“It’s a staple of the indie scene in Leeds, with a lot of history and heritage that we didn’t want to lose. We don’t want to completely change the concept, more bring it up to date and give it a refresh. We’re still maintaining the gallery element of the venue and will be displaying works from exciting artists on a 4 week rotation.”Matt Long, Owner Arts