Update May 17
Hardens are reporting today that Soho House Group will be opening two restaurants on the site. The second, underneath Pizza East, will be called Chicken Shop. No further details as yet…so watch this space. But it sounds to us like they’ll be doing a galline take on the vogue for all things Meateasymeatpeople.

Do you reckon Soho House Group have been reading The Kentishtowner? After all, we first raised the hope of a north London branch in January, in a story about possible uses for the saved Pizza Express building on the corner of Prince Of Wales Road.

So over the weekend we were pleased to learn that they have bought the former Grand Union on Highgate Road and begun work on what will be their third branch of Pizza East, after the fashionable flagship in Shoreditch’s former Tea Building, and a second in Notting Hill.

And here’s what it looks like right now, three months away from its August 1 opening. There’ll be a downstairs bar and upstairs restaurant. And it’s not hard to imagine the big windows and concrete interior shaping up quite nicely.

A tweet last night brought back a mass of opinion, retweets and feedback, with most of you falling down on the side of the opening being a Good Thing. The only cautious note raised was its location, as it’s been an ‘interesting’ site, home to a succession of ventures in recent times, such as notable incarnation The Highgate.

Camden New Journal’s @dannycarrier said, ambiguously, ‘the place has been cursed over the years…no biz lasted there long…[but it] means competition for the food at the Vine’; @bendylady screamed ‘OMG – seriously, what’s not to love?’ @misssfitt was looking forward to ‘nice tiling’ and had already come up with a Pizza East hashtag; @nellefant exclaimed ‘Woo!’, whilst Andrew Lock of @alockdesign confessed – perhaps a touch dramatically – that he was ‘in shock!’

But what’s happening, we wonder, to the increasingly maligned Grand Union chain of burger bars? Anyway, we’ll keep you posted with Pizza East (Pizza North?) news as we have it. ‘At this stage we have no information to release,’ wrote the nice lady at Soho House press office. So hell, add your thoughts instead below.

7 Responses

  1. pascal

    I have to agree with @dannycarrier t’is a cursed site to be sure. But if they can bring a bit of life to that stretch of road it’s a good thing.

    Reply
  2. Andrew Lock

    Hey Guys,

    Great article! Thank you for the much needed update. Your tweet last night did indeed send us into a tweet/email/text-a-thon!!

    I think it’s great to see new investment especially from such a renowned group – hence the shock. If anyone can make a success of the site, Soho House can. The Portobello site is a bit out on a limb and still pulls in the crowds so as a brand they have the means to create a buzz and attract the crowd. As you say it’ll be an interesting interior. I personally love their style so it gets a thumbs up from me!

    I wonder if we’ll be sipping cocktails on the roof of highgate studios in 5 years time…..

    Andrew x @alockdesign

    Reply
  3. Patrick

    This will largely hinge on the first reviews. Let’s not forget what Giles Coren said about Grand Union in his review of the Bull & Last:

    “GU is part of a chain, I gather, so it may take a while to fail. But fail it surely will. A carpet warehouse thou wert, and to a carpet warehouse shalt thou return. Scant use to locals desperate for a drink and a decent pie, but a nice thing for Primrose Hillbillies to visit on Saturday afternoons, and pay through the nose for a giant kilim which will always look somehow wrong in the drawing room, until it is finally rolled up and hoicked into the attic to become food for moths.”

    If he’s as gushing about the new restaurant as he was about the Pizza East in the Tea Building it’ll surely be a success. The food should be ace too.

    Reply
  4. Kentishtowner

    More feedback on Twitter: Primrose Hill (@Primrose_h_life) say ‘They’ll make that site work, with knock-on benefits for the whole area.’

    Lots of tweets from readers ‘excited about Pizza North.’ Is there a better name?

    Reply
  5. Gavin Juniper

    If the food is good, the people will go. I was greatly disappointed with the GU food so never went back. Was nothing to The Vine. It’s another big flag for KT.

    Reply
  6. VantageNW

    We’re extremely excited to see Pizza East / Pizza North / Pizza NW coming to Kentish Town – as Andrew Lock rightly points out, the Portobello one is not in an especially desirable location and yet it works.

    It’s a great thing for the area, an incredible boost and affirmation of NW’s continued ability to hold its own against more central postcodes. Soho House choosing NW5 as the location for its newest venture really says it all.

    Reply
  7. sian superman

    I think this is a dreadful idea. Rumours of rooftop area – so you can watch the employees of Murphys drive in and out of Highgate Road as you sip a cosmopolitan. A horrible tosspot “media” brand arriving to lure the yuppies. Yuk.

    Reply

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