Food and friendship at Bramley’s pop up restaurant


Ever thought the pop up restaurant phenomenon was just for trendy young folk and hipsters?

Well, a pop up restaurant in Bramley is making waves among the older generation – and it’s all a result of people giving up their time to volunteer.

Bramley lad David Bennett, a former chef for Marco Pierre-White at Ilkley’s prestigious Box Tree restaurant, now volunteers to help run the restaurant night for older people at Bramley Lawn.

The award winning chef, 41, said:

“I’ve lived here nearly all my life, apart from a time when I went down to London to work. I started out at Thomas Danby, so Leeds is where my roots are.

“There aren’t really any restaurants in Bramley – there’s a massive gap in the market and that’s where the idea came from.”

Bramley restaurant night
Pop-up restaurant: Diners enjoying their food at Bramley Lawn. Photo: Bramley Elderly Action

David, who is also well known for  running the Sunshine Bakery in Chapel Allerton, says the events are aimed at older people and their families/friends.

He added:

“We found Saturday was the loneliest night of the week for a lot of older people as their families are out doing other things, so we bring people together so no-one has to eat alone.

“If you run a restaurant, you’re usually booking twos, fours or sixes, whereas with this we’re often booking ones.

“We make sure all the tables are shared so everyone gets to socialise – that’s one of the most pleasurable things, getting people out of an empty house on a Saturday night when they’d just be watching TV.”

The restaurant evenings are held once a month on Saturday evenings at Bramley Lawn, which is managed by Bramley Elderly Action.

Guests are invited to eat together at shared tables, and the event is open to all ages. The meal is ‘pay what you decide’ so no-one has to go worry about cost.

David’s partner in food is Bramley Elderly Action’s (BEA) operations   manager Fran Graham. BEA aims to  improve the quality of later life for people in Bramley, Swinnow and Stanningley.

Next restaurant dates are October 17 and November 28. For more information, to volunteer or to book a place, contact Fran Graham on 07815 790189.

A full version of this feature can be found in the first edition of the Dispatch newspaper, out this week.


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