Naturally fast food chain Leon sets its compass north with new restaurant in Intu Trafford Centre


Naturally Fast Food chain LEON is bringing its winning mix of fun, fresh and flavourful food to the North for the first time

They will be opening a brand new LEON restaurant in the Intu Centre Trafford on Easter Monday (17 April), with a series of events for club members the days before.

LEON was founded in 2004 by John Vincent and Henry Dimbleby, along with well-known chef Allegra McEvedy, with the aim to make it easy for everybody to eat and live well. LEON created the category of Naturally Fast Food; food that tastes good, does you good and is affordable. LEON invented the ‘Super Salad’, and has a menu inspired by Mediterranean ingredients as well as fast food classics. LEON have been champions of free-from food, and were the first to display nutritional symbols on their menus.

The brand have had such a good response from locals that they are already planning to open a second restaurant in the heart of Manchester, next to Piccadilly Station.

LEON first opened in London in 2004 and was awarded Best New UK Restaurant by the Observer national newspaper that year. LEON’s mission is to help everyone to eat and live well. John Vincent & Henry Dimbleby, the LEON founders, decided that the best way to achieve this was to ask themselves ‘what would fast food be like in heaven?’ Since then they have opened 48 restaurants, bringing good fast food to high streets across the UK and abroad.

Guests of LEON Trafford will have the chance to try the chain’s new Spring menu, including a seasonal Lamb & Rhubarb Khoresh, Hey Pesto Chicken Salad, The Mack Wrap and Sunshine Salad Pot. They will also have the chance to try LEON classics that have been on the menu since the very first restaurant opened on Carnaby Street. The Moroccan Meatball Hot Box, the signature Fish Finger Wrap, and the Original Super Salad.

As well as its menu, LEON will be bringing its sourcing policy to their Manchester restaurant. All meat is higher welfare standards, all eggs are free range, and the milk organic. Coffee is fair trade, supporting farmers, the beans are organic and world land trust certified, helping to save over 185 acres of rainforest (so far).Cakes are supplied by Dorset bakery Honeybuns, which has been baking LEON’s gluten-free chocolate brownies and lemon ginger crunch cakes since 2004, using only natural ingredients and no refined sugar.

LEON Co-Founder John Vincent said, “We’ve been absolutely blown away by the response from people in Manchester to the news that we’re to open in Trafford. At LEON we have always believed in serving food that tastes good and does you good, and we’re excited to finally bring it to Manchester for the first time. So, come say hello, try out our dishes and let us know what you think. We can’t wait to meet you.”

The LEON brand is also known for its cookbook collection (co-written by the founders). They have most recently published their seventh, Fast & Free, and have their eighth coming out later this year. They have also developed a cookware range in partnership with John Lewis, helping make it easier to eat well at home as well as on the go.

They have also been recognised by their sense of social responsibility. In 2013 John and Henry produced the national School Food Plan, which was one of the biggest shake-ups of school food in England for a generation. It has overseen, among other changes, the introduction of cookery lessons for all children up to the age of 14, universal free school meals for infants, and new standards for the food served to children in schools. John and Henry were both awarded an MBE by the Queen in 2015 for services to school food.

As well as offering their usual 15% discount to NHS workers and students, LEON will also be offering children who drop by over the Easter Weekend a free meal. Please sign up to the LEON club online for more details.