SCHOOLCHILDREN tried their hand at making their own pizza at a York restaurant on Thursday when it reopened after a major refurbishment.

Twenty-five pupils from St Barnabas Primary School were PizzaExpress’s first guests since it closed for the revamp in the middle of last month.

The 3,875 sq ft restaurant on the banks of the River Ouse was transformed into a classroom for the morning; enabling them to learn about good food and fresh ingredients before making their own authentic Italian pizza to enjoy and then take back to school for their lunch.

The restaurant in Museum Street is situated in a former Victorian gentleman’s club, and bespoke gold and timber-framed artwork has been installed throughout to reflect this theme, said a spokeswoman.

“The overall design of the restaurant has been carefully crafted to accentuate the original features of the stunning listed building,” she said.

“New upholstered furniture - including elegant settle seating, and a beautiful new leather-clad meet and greet area - are key new features of the space.

“The changes even extend to the toilets, which have been carefully restored to reflect the building’s Victorian past.”

She said there were new floor lamps and neon fireplace flame lights, and grand chandeliers had been installed to create a more subtle lighting scheme, which complemented the listed oak panelling of the central dining rooms.

“An array of copper-accentuated features, including pendants and pot displays, also adorn the restaurant,” she added.

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Restaurant manager Ben Hicks said: “I am incredibly excited to be re-opening our stunning, historic restaurant,, and to be at the helm of such a fantastic team.”

He said the revamp meant an increase in the restaurant’s capacity to 226 diners, including 24 al fresco in summer months, and this had led to the creation of an extra 15 jobs.