Relaunched Social Bite restaurant to open its doors today

The refurbished restaurant opens on Friday evening. Picture: Neil HannaThe refurbished restaurant opens on Friday evening. Picture: Neil Hanna
The refurbished restaurant opens on Friday evening. Picture: Neil Hanna

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A restaurant that allowed customers to 'pay forward' meals for homeless people is being relaunched in a new partnership.

Home opened in Edinburgh in September 2016 as a project between Social Bite and Dean Gassabi of Maison Bleue.

It provided training opportunities, a homeless meal service and encouraged customers to “pay forward” meals for those in need.

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It was visited by Oscar winner Leonardo DiCaprio in November 2016 who praised the concept.

The Queensferry Street site is now being relaunched as Vesta in a new venture between Social Bite and David Hall, described as “one of Scotland’s most experienced hospitality operators” having previously led The Innis & Gunn Beer Kitchens and Tigerlily.

The refurbished restaurant opens on Friday and will “honour the legacy of Home” by continuing training places and meals for the homeless.

Bosses said the name Vesta was from the Roman Goddess of hearth, home and family.

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Mr Hall said: “Home has become somewhat of an Edinburgh institution, and I hugely admire the work that Dean and his team have done over the years.

“We’re continuing what Home was set up to do, and I’m honoured to play a part in Social Bite’s mission to end homelessness in Scotland.

“Our mantra at Vesta is going to be ‘feel good food’, serving delicious dishes with big flavours, that not only taste good but leave you feeling good too.

“We hope our ‘feel good food’ leads to ‘feel good actions’. If our customers have enjoyed their meal with us, they can pay forward meals for the homeless, be it a coffee, lunch or dinner. 100% of their donation will be passed straight to Social Bite’s charity to distribute the food and we will open exclusively on Monday afternoons to feed the homeless too.

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“Vesta will also provide training and employment programmes for members of the Social Bite Academy, the charity’s four-year, paid course for homeless people.”

The restaurant is owned by the Social Bite charity and is supported by leading restaurant figures, with Social Bite board members including Michelin-starred chef Martin Wishart.

Josh Littlejohn, co-founder of Social Bite, said: “I’m grateful to Dean and his team for all the work that went in to the first two years of the Social Bite restaurant project and I’m looking forward to its next steps as Vesta.

“Vesta is a place where you can enjoy a delicious, first-rate meal at the same time as helping some of the most vulnerable people in society, and it really does make a huge difference to the lives of many.

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“The restaurant is an extension of what we do we’re doing in the Social Bite cafes, and it’s great to continue to support people in this way.”

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