OWNERS of a popular York restaurant are investing £1m in launching a new venue.

Oscar Akgul and Osman Dogan are taking their York Cut & Craft steakhouse brand to Leeds' Victoria Quarter where two shops will be transformed into a 150 to 170-cover restaurant.

The 6,000 sq ft venture, twice the size of the York site, will include a mezzanine floor and private dining space, and will create about 60 jobs.

It follows the £800,000 invested by the business partners in Lucia York last year and a £600,000 refurbishment at Lucia Harrogate which will be unveiled when lockdown lifts.

"It is a proud moment for us to take a York-based company, created from new in a small courtyard, and to spend this kind of budget on a premium location in Leeds, representing York," said Oscar.

"Most people have probably stopped their investment. Some pubs and restaurants are closing. We are doing the opposite."

He added: "We have already invested £1.4m back into our business which we think puts us back into a strong position going forward."

Oscar said the pandemic, and their track record, had enabled them to secure the 'highly desirable' Leeds site following a lengthy search for a location.

"Retail businesses are suffering so units are becoming available for the restaurant scene. The landlord has seen us as a successful, strong candidate."

Cut & Craft Leeds is expected to open in August or September. Designers are working on plans for the bar and restaurant areas which Oscar said would take up to six months to complete.

"Leeds was a good location for us to invest in. It had to be the right location; we wanted both the lunch and evening trade," he said.

"It will be a £1m investment; it is going to be a luxury site. We wanted to go there and make a big statement, and be one of the most beautiful restaurants in Leeds."

They are employing a new team of dedicated customer experience managers at the restaurants to offer guests a tailor-made experience, from arranging private entry to sourcing a favourite wine, organising photography and ordering flowers for special occasions.

Oscar said they are also exploring the logistics of offering box meals for UK delivery, having sold 100 Valentine box meals - including flat-iron steaks and side dishes for two, for £40 - within two days.