The street food scene is massive in the capital.
However, much of it originated at The Pitt, the popular market that was founded by Hal Prescott and Scott Kirkham, and popped up in a disused industrial unit in Leith back in 2015. Since then, it’s been a weekend hang-out and home for traders including Rost, Barnacles & Bones, The Buffalo Truck, Free the Chilli and dessert cafe, Spot. It also hosts the annual Scottish Street Food Awards and an Oktoberfest, where they serve drinks from their partners, Barney’s Beer.
However, currently its original location on 125-137 Pitt Street is under threat, as developers J.Smart & Co plan to demolish five industrial units, including the one that houses the food market, which consists of a covered bar and seated area as well as an outside courtyard. This is part of a proposed development of luxury flats, along with infrastructure including their complementary car parking and landscaping, which is planned for an area between Pitt Street and Trafalgar Lane.
Regulars will be disappointed if the planning application is accepted by the City of Edinburgh Council in the coming months. However, although The Pitt were unavailable to comment, we don’t underestimate the ability of these street food pioneers to adapt and survive, especially after the trials of lockdown.
If anyone can track down a new trading spot in any of the capital’s neglected or less gentrified urban spaces, it's The Pitt.
During the Edinburgh Festival 2021, they were responsible for the food offering, which included traders Chicken Skoop, at MultiStory, a temporary outdoor arts space that took place at Queen Street Car Park. They also coordinate pop-ups throughout the UK, at festivals Electric Fields, Kendal Calling and Blue Dot.
To add more strings to their bow, they recently opened a bricks and mortar pub, Bullfinch – “a neighbourhood pub offering great beer” – in the former premises of The Pond on Salamander Street. We hope The Pitt’s original home doesn’t close down, but if they do, it will only be the start of a new chapter.