If you’ve kept up with our blog, you’ll know by now that we’re big on independent business. It’s not for the free samples we pass between shops (though that’s a big attraction as well), it’s because independent business is more than just commerce – or rather it’s commerce as it should be.
As we’ve illustrated with coffee shops, pubs, restaurants, grocers, even menswear stores – independent businesses thrive on more than just sales. The people behind these businesses have a genuine passion for their product and craft; they want you to ask them questions, be apart of a community of mutual interest, admiration and passion in the quest for quality, service and taking advantage of what’s local. Unlike competing chains, the more we share between independent businesses; the more educated we become, and the more fun we all have.
Independents in Harrogate are many and varied; new ventures come and go regularly. However we feel compelled to mention a couple things that have made us excited like only Christmas can:
Independents in Harrogate have a few boxes to tick off a list before they get our seal of approval: authenticity, passion, local sourcing and experience are qualities we look for. It appears Stuzzi took one look at our hypothetical check-list and proceeded to laugh in our petty faces, in the friendliest possible manner, as if to say: “Oh, please; really now, fratelli? Do you even have to ask?”
Images courtesy of Stuzzi
A few months ago, a residency at the Belgrave Music Hall in Leeds was receiving attention, lots of attention. Smells of divine and delicious Italian foods wafted through the halls – slow food, local food, meticulously chosen and imported food, put together in tasteful yet astounding patterns. Which curly-haired genius with a Mario accent was responsible for this? None at all – behind this marvelous culinary scene stood four charmingly mild-mannered Englishmen, with one thing in common: an unquenchable passion for Italian food.
Food businesses, bloggers and civilians alike were in a stir, as months passed and piece by piece, Stuzzi went from a dream to a name to a pair of closed doors on King’s Road, hiding untold, irresistible secrets, before finally…
A first week resulted in packed tables, rave reviews and an average of 2 hours sleep a night, as well as an opening party to which Baltzersen’s was cordially invited. An enjoyable attendance resulted in a lunch date for next week, when we sat down with Harvey to discuss everything indie, Harrogate and Italian.
After some years of experience working in the Italian restaurant and deli industry in Leeds and Harrogate, Harvey & Co. decided it was time to take things to the next level. Months of intensive research in Italy; finding the finest productions, local specialities, traditions and foods to research, taste and take back to our town.
The residency at the Belgrave had given the Stuzzi team much needed traction, now it’s a matter of making the very best of this booming start. Harvey remarks that one of the greatest experiences of opening up their business in Harrogate, has been the overwhelming engagement and support from not only the public, but independent businesses all around. Cafés, delis and restaurants around the area are curious about this team taking authenticity to the next level.
Everything Stuzzi serves is made in-house, including their creamy, dreamy chicken liver pâté. Resources and products are sourced from all around Italy, that Bradford – Traviso connection comes in handy: Venice is a particularly fond destination for the Stuzzi team.
The rest is of course locally sourced – the aim from the beginning has been to make an authentic Italian cuisine and experience, with the finest quality produce, which is in abundance as we know. It also allows a seasonal approach to the menu.
At the end of the day, it’s the Italian experience Stuzzi are serving you. Open from 8AM to 10PM, it’s easy enough to spend an entire day there, but the chief principle is one of leisure. The food should not and will not be rushed; lean back and taste the flavours, take a break, have a Spritz, return to the deli. As it grows dark, perhaps it’s time to order a main course of the evening menu – feel free to share with your company and explore as many flavours as you can – and don’t forget the wine.
Besides running the risk of customers eventually moving in and sleeping in their space, Stuzzi have brought something very, very special to Harrogate. We sense a long legacy of independent, delicious business down the road, and we’re looking forward to every step (and lunch break).
Little Less Known:
Images courtesy of Little Less Known
Once upon a time, a couple Yorkshire graduates saw a gaping hole in the Northern media marketing industry. While independent cafés, businesses and happenings in London have developed their own culture of sleek, high-quality independent media promotion, Scott Quinn and Ben Richards saw no reason why the North should stay in the dark ages.
The result of intensive research and a personal passion for their region is Little Less Known: with backgrounds in film, theatre, music production and graphics design, the team is completed by trusty coordinator Sandy Wright. Together the trio are out to discover and share the greatest lesser-known businesses, community projects and the like that Yorkshire has to offer.
A couple weeks ago, Little Less Known invited us to the premiere party for their first episode at our good friends Major Tom’s Social. A quick chat lead to a coffee date; we were curious to see what these gents had to say for themselves.
Some may find the project quite daunting, but Scott and Ben have found the adventure to be an exhilarating, educational and positive one. – The amount of support we’ve received is just tremendous, Scott remarks. Individuals and businesses alike are applauding their production and networking efforts, and more and more curious parties are approaching them to see what the hype is, and hopefully get involved.
So far Scott, Ben and Sandy have produced 4 episodes, and there’s plenty more to come. Their first feature was of Major Tom’s, others have been our good friends North Star Micro Roasters and the fantastic initiatives from The Real Junk Food Project.
One of the greatest things about researching and getting to know both businesses, organisations and communities, is how quickly your network evolves, Ben and Scott explain. A name-drop here, a handshake there, and before you know it, new projects and new friends have been made. In terms of financing, the project demands very little, allowing the team to focus on producing quality content covering honest passion and interests – the recognition and appreciation alone is incredibly rewarding. They’ve enjoyed the independent business mentality we’ve spoken so much of before; where some might see competition, Scott, Ben and Sandy create an opportunity to learn something new, meet someone new and try something a little less known. The nature of their project makes them natural instigators of collaboration, both in and outside of their own production projects.
At this point Little Less Known could go in a lot of directions. Independents in Harrogate and all over the North can be grateful for a new, innovative medial force in the area. We for one are very excited to see where these sharp chaps take their work next – we’re looking forward to the next episode already.