Pizza: the food of the Gods; that ancient Italian invention adored across the world; a glorious cuisine that fills supermarket shelves, high street restaurants and local takeaways throughout the UK. Can you imagine life without pizza?
Well, it may be hard to believe, but such a life was the reality for Leeds folk only four decades ago. Thankfully, in 1978, one of the city’s first pizza place arrived, and everything changed. Not only were we to discover the dish, we were to be fed it by a master pizzeria: Harpo’s.
Harpo’s originally launched in 1978 in Headingley and was an immediate success amongst its interested residents. This family business were bringing the first taste of pizza to many a tongue, and they were sure to make it one to remember. Amazing ingredients, authentically cooked, Harpo’s was soon a local favourite, and has since become a Leeds legend.
Now, over forty years later, Harpo’s is still going strong. Testament to its original ethos and ongoing quality, the business remains in the family and is cooking up traditional pizzas unsurpassed by the subsequent influx of competition. Not that there haven’t been some changes along the way…
As the city and its taste for pizza moved on, so too did Harpo’s. Despite a continually loyal following from its Headingley home, Harpo’s eventually relocated to Roundhay’s Street Lane. It says a lot about how fond folk were of the place that many of the old clientele followed it east to keep up their taste of Leeds’ finest, whilst new Roundhay regulars were discovering exactly what made it so loved.
Having settled in their new site for several years, it was with glee that news broke of Harpo’s return to its origins last year. A short distance from their Otley Road birthplace, Harpo’s have opened a second site on Burley Road, and bring with them an irresistible nostalgia for those familiar with the original, and an exciting revelation for the generation who missed out.
A visit here reveals the warmth and authenticity remains in tact over forty years and eight prime ministers later. That unique Harpo’s flavour of handmade dough, fresh produce and a certain ‘non so che’ is still the recipe for sublime stone baked pizza that will not be beaten.
Indeed, much has been survived; after arriving in Headingley, the streets evacuated in fear of the Yorkshire Ripper; after moving to Burley, the streets deserted in response to COVID-19. Neither have defeated Harpo’s and the power of their pizza.
To the lucky people of Roundhay whose local takeaway is this city great, and to the Headingley originals who continue to make the Harpo’s pilgrimage, I am telling you nothing new; keep on keeping on. To those of us who reminisce about the Harpo’s glory days, they’re back, and this time they’re in Burley; let’s eat up that nostalgia. And to the newcomers who know nothing of Harpo’s until now, enjoy your discovery; welcome to a perfect slice of Leeds.