There is a Grade II listed building situated in the heart of Leicester called the Silver Arcade. Opened in 1899, it stood proud among the fashionable outlets of The Lanes but slowly sank into decline. Four years ago it received a £3M boost for restoration to its heyday glory.
Since then the modern arcade is slowly finding its way, current retail conditions are favourable and the heart of the building is beating yet again after what amounted to an almost 10 year closure. The Silver Arcade is becoming a wellspring of innovative and independent businesses and has transformed the cultural vibe of the surrounding area.
The redevelopment has also allowed local-born Andy Ritchie to make a household name for himself as the co-owner and manager of one of Leicester’s premier delicatessens, “Bryter Moon – Deli Flavour in the city”. The deli and its eatery – imagined by the team that brought the award-winning Deli Flavour to Stoneygate back in 2005 – are located on the ground floor of the arcade under cool daylight filtered from a glass roof above.
And for those looking for the porcelain trappings of a Mediterranean al fresco “café culture” the deli’s new outside seating area makes it an ideal place to watch the world go by.
For Andy, the venue is perfect. “Our mission was to create an environment where people could sit and relax, to give them a unique and quirky experience rather than just the run of the mill coffee shop or deli,” he says. In so doing he created something altogether eye-catching; a comfortable vintage environment with a respectable collection of board games and a deli counter so well-stocked it proves hard to drag one’s eyes from it.
As for the products on sale, the blends of local, national and international foods are a feast for the soul and a true diversion from the narrow flavours of high street chains.
“We try where we can to use local suppliers of breads, cakes, jams, and chutneys,” he says.
And having been raised in the small Leicestershire town of Anstey it is safe to say Andy’s links with the community are resolute. He sounds proud when he tells me Bryter Moon is, “Very much built from a Leicestershire perspective.”
Produce used in this unique Deli includes vegetables and fruit from Leicester’s famed open market, exquisite local stilton and red Leicester and the local Charnwood beer. But Andy isn’t forcing the local theme. He also sells a chilli jam from Hawkshead, a supplier in the Lake District, and other produce from around the UK and beyond.
The extensive range of produce at Bryter Moon does not mean that Andy and his team cater for only one demographic.
Their vegan, vegetarian and gluten-free set pieces are well-considered and do not come from a hastily diminished meat-eater’s dish, nor are they a secondary concern. Andy, himself a vegetarian says their ethos, “Reflects the way we are as a deli. We have a lot of veggies, vegans and meat-eaters that work here.”
Andy was attracted to the profession as a way to engage with his creativity and independence, two things that had been sorely lacking in his previous guise as a customer service manager. “I worked in a big office with a lot of office politics, emails and meetings and I was like, what am I doing? I’d do better if I didn’t have a boss.” he says. “I just wanted to do my own thing”. Leaving secure employment came with its own set of problems, but for an entrepreneur with drive there is no looking back.
Clearly, the stress of owning one’s own business doesn’t evade Andy but he tries to keep his stress levels down after hours by spending time with his two young children. With just one holiday a year he tries to find time to enjoy moments closer to home; he is a season ticket holder for Leicester City and lives only a short distance from the open arms of the Leicestershire countryside where he can enjoy walks with the family.
We can expect Bryter Moon to continue delivering exquisite products in a setting unlike any other and in the end effortlessly draw people to the deli. It is happening, slowly but surely. We can also expect the deli’s links with local producers to remain steadfast despite challenging political times ahead.
The ambitious Andy also talks of a potential expansion of the business, perhaps taking the deli formula out of the city and “bringing something new” to another part of the county.
With the catering side of the business picking up, a licence for live music performance in hand and the owners’ dedication to the kind of customer care most big chains can only dream of it would seem the future is bright for Bryter Moon!
OPEN 7 days a week
Monday – Thursday 0830 – 1700 (Between 0830 – 1000; £1.50 coffee reduced rate)
Friday – 0830 – 1730
Saturday – 0830 – 1730
Sunday – 1100 – 1530