London Union is the new parent company of the highly successful Street Feast which intends to transform the capital’s food landscape forever by creating the world’s greatest food market in central London.
Founded by Leon’s Henry Dimbleby and Street Feast’s Jonathan Downey, London Union is backed by some of the biggest names in British food – including Russell Norman from the Polpo Group, Soho House’s Nick Jones, Yotam Ottolenghi and some of the UK’s best known food writers and broadcasters.
The pioneering Street Feast model takes underused and neglected spaces in London and turns them into vibrant street food markets, bringing communities together, creating employment, and providing opportunities for new food traders to establish themselves without requiring large amounts of capital.
Local markets + one flagship market
London Union has already opened three local markets this year: Model Market in Lewisham, Dalston Yard in E8, and Dinerama in Shoreditch. These markets are expected to welcome 750,000 visitors in the next 12 months, create over 400 jobs and support over 60 small businesses.
Over the next five years, London Union plans to open 15 more local, day and night markets, as well as one flagship market in a permanent location in central London.
Taking the Street Feast market to a new level
Jonathan Downey, co-founder of London Union,said: “London is the greatest city in the world, but it doesn’t yet have the world’s greatest food markets. With London Union we are going to change that.
“The past 18 months have been phenomenal for Street Feast. We’ve turned underused and derelict parts of London into lively food markets that have brought people together, created countless jobs and helped individuals get their new business ideas off the ground. We’re making a real difference to local communities and London Union will help us take this model to a whole new level.”
Henry Dimbleby, co-founder of London Union,said: “London is in danger of being hollowed out. It is full of empty spaces that have been bought by investors awaiting planning to build flats. We want to take those spaces and use them to create something both profitable and positive for Londoners.”
“In particular we want our flagship market to become one of the great global food destinations and to cement London’s place as the street food capital of the world.”
Building a permanent, world-class street food market in central London
Over the past two years, Street Feast has given Londoners a new way to eat out – creating buzzing temporary night markets in unique spaces. Now London Union has acquired Street Feast, bringing Downey and Dimbleby together to develop this incredibly successful night market model.
London Union plans to build a permanent, world-class street food market in central London. This will become a must-see destination for visitors to the city, as well as somewhere that is loved and used by Londoners. During the day, visitors will be able to grab breakfast or lunch at one of the food stalls, or soak up the atmosphere in a more leisurely way at one of the market’s cafés or restaurants. In the evening, it will transform into a twinkling night market. Potential locations currently being considered include a huge floating market on the south bank of the Thames and Smithfield’s Fish Market, restored after 30 years of closure.
London Union will also open another 15 temporary local markets in London over the next five years, creating thousands of jobs and offering a platform for pioneering food businesses to thrive. Beautifully designed and lit, each market will be like a miniature town of independent street food traders. With a great crowd, rooftop bars and music festival vibes, these markets will offer some of the best food available anywhere in the world.
London Union launches with the support and expertise of a board of founder investors, including some of Britain’s most successful restaurateurs, food writers and entrepreneurs. Over half of Street Feast’s 60+ strong network of traders have also chosen to invest in the business.
The London Union board of founder investors comprises:
- Petra Barran – Founder of KERB.
- Rosie Boycott – Chair, The London Food Board.
- Giles Coren – Writer, broadcaster and restaurant critic, The Times.
- Gizzi Erskine – Chef and food writer, The Sunday Times.
- Bill Granger – Founder of Bill’s (Australia/Japan) and Granger & Co.
- Nick Jones – Founder and CEO of Soho House Group.
- Nigella Lawson – Food writer and broadcaster.
- Thomasina Miers – Co-founder/director of Wahaca and writer, Guardian.
- Russell Norman, Richard Beatty – Owners of the Polpo Group.
- Jamie Oliver – Chef, broadcaster and restaurateur.
- Marina O’Loughlin – Writer and restaurant critic, The Guardian.
- Tom Parker-Bowles – Food writer and restaurant critic, Mail on Sunday, and Food Editor, Esquire.
- Stevie Parle – Chef/owner of The Dock Kitchen, Rotorino and Craft London.
- José Pizarro – Chef/owner of José and Pizarro.
- Mark Sainsbury – Owner of the Zetter Group and Grain Store, co-founder of the Sustainable Restaurant Association.
- Shamil Thakrar – Co-founder of Dishoom.
- Richard Turner – Chef/partner in Hawksmoor and Turner & George.
- Yotam Ottolenghi – Co-owner of Ottolenghi and Nopi, and food writer, The Guardian
Stef Calcraft, who co-founded the advertising agency Mother, is the company’s Chairman.
Yotam Ottolenghi said: “The London food scene is the most dynamic in the world. London Union creates fantastic platforms for all this talent and enthusiasm to manifest themselves. It’s a privilege to support and take part in this great process.”