Independent restaurants help cement arcade’s food hub status

A Victorian arcade in the centre of Hull is back to capacity with the arrival of new tenants and the reopening of a destination restaurant.

Stretch Pizza is the latest addition to the food offer at Paragon Arcade, which has been further enhanced by the reopening of The Hispanist after a break of two months spent revamping the kitchen and menus.

With other new openings Paragon Arcade now has six food outlets serving Chinese, pan-Asian, pizza, Spanish, coffee, snacks, and now smoothies and other healthy options.

Four retailers sell music and memorabilia, jewellery, babywear and flowers. There are also four service business working in men’s and women’s hair, beauty and aesthetics, and tattoos.

Georgia Allenby, design and marketing manager for the Arcade’s owners, Allenby Commercial, said: “It’s great to see Paragon Arcade full again with vibrant new businesses all locally-owned and offering something completely different. We have always tried to create a really good mix and that’s what we have.

“Every one of them has a good customer base and we will try to build on that by resuming our events programme.”

The biggest new arrival is Stretch Pizza, where husband and wife team Jason and Tash Nichols are serving customers in a 40-seat restaurant.

The Hispanist first opened just before Christmas 2019, too late to make the most of that festive season, and then saw trade for the next three Yuletides decimated by lockdowns and the economic hit from war in Ukraine.

But chef patron Nick Hill is now up and running again. He said: “I decided to close at the beginning of the year because I needed to get my energy back up and our energy costs down. That’s a real issue and that’s what worries me the most. You go from spending £350 to £400 a month up to £1,700.”

Dewy, a new outlet selling smoothies and healthy food, was opened in January by Rania Besleme and her daughter Christina Tsitlakidou.

Besleme had been waiting for a unit to become available for over two years and is now open six days a week with about 20 seats across two floors.

Ben Liang launched Salt and Pepper Club in November selling Chinese street food and complementing the Asian flavours served up by Oishii Ne, which opened last summer.

Further along the Arcade, Milchig, which first started trading in 2020, has expanded to double its space for customers to enjoy coffee, ice cream, cakes, cookies and brownies all made on the premises.