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Leeds-based restaurant is bringing the authentic taste of rural Italy to downtown Leeds

A £20k Start Up Loan from BEF helps make a dream of a lifetime come true.

Based in the financial quarter of Leeds city centre, La Piola is no ordinary Italian dining experience. As its name translates, the modern café and bistro is a destination for families to enjoy authentic Italian food made from locally sourced, prime quality ingredients. It’s as close as one gets to homecooked countryside food without an invitation to dine at the home of Fabio Rua, La Piola’s owner.

Situated on Park Square East in the heart of the Leeds city centre business district, La Piola welcomes diners from Monday to Saturday. Service starts with early morning coffee and breakfast before moving to light lunches from the deli counter, while evening diners enjoy freshly cooked small menu with specialty dishes from our region.

Fabio is a talented, experienced, and creative chef who is passionate about Italian food and the city of Leeds which he has called home for the last 15 years. He has a love for, and a deep understanding of, Italian cuisine that he wants to share with the city of Leeds.

Fabio said: “Italian food is all about the simplicity of good quality ingredients prepared with experience and love for your guests. Whenever I serve a meal, I think I am cooking for a friend or a family member. My recipes are all from home cooking traditions and my 20 years' experience in the restaurant business.”

Despite running five Italian restaurants since 2004, Fabio’s heart was set on the pursuit of a lifelong dream to own his own restaurant which served the delicious food he grew to know and love from his childhood days back in his hometown of Cuneo, Italy.

Fabio continues: “I often find lots of similarity with Yorkshire, our menu offers rich, bold, and delicious dishes such as raised beef, the perfect comfort food to ease our winters, to vibrant summer recipes with fresh egg pasta. All menu options are made from authentic Italian ingredients complimented by regional ingredients from local Yorkshire suppliers.”

When Fabio approached BEF in April 2022, he wanted to secure a low-cost loan to support the acquisition of a lease, buy essential equipment, and supply working capital for contingency.

Following support from Tom Kelton, Associate Investment Manager at BEF, Fabio secured a £20,000 Start Up Loan in April 2022. Having received his loan, Fabio opened La Piola in September 2022. Since then, he has enjoyed growing demand for this authentic Italian cuisine and, most recently, his most profitable period to date. With an eye to the future, Fabio plans to extend the corporate catering services La Piola offers to local businesses.

Fabio continues: “My experience with BEF was excellent. Working with Tom, I received inspiring mentoring and loads of useful tips to set up my new business. Receiving the Start Up Loan meant that I could afford to open my café deli shop.”

Tom Kelton, Associate Investment Manager at BEF, said: “From the start of the application process, Fabio had an infectious passion and obvious talent for great, authentic Italian food. He found a prime location in Leeds City Centre and began the process of making his dream his reality. I visited La Piola in December, and I was delighted to be served the best pizza I have ever had.”

Start or grow your business with a Start Up Loan delivered by BEF

A Start Up Loan is a government-backed personal loan available to individuals looking to start or grow a business in the UK. You borrow £500 to £25,000 over 1–5 years at a fixed rate of 6% per annum. Up to four founders and partners can apply per business.

Apply online now.

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