Obituary: Paul Kavazy, businessman

Paul Kavazy, who has died at 82, was a popular and successful businessman who enjoyed a spell as a reserve team player at Leeds United and who in the 1960s launched the city’s first discotheque.

Paul Kavazy
Paul Kavazy

Paul Kavazy, who has died at 82, was a popular and successful businessman who enjoyed a spell as a reserve team player at Leeds United and who in the 1960s launched the city’s first discotheque.

Paul Georgiou Kavazy arrived in Britain from Cyprus in 1957, the epitome of a hard working man who left his home to find a more prosperous life outside. His brother, Costas, had moved to Yorkshire a couple of years earlier, and Paul followed in the footsteps of many other Cypriots.

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He and Costas set up their own company in the early 1960s, and went on to open an array of catering establishments throughout the county, providing jobs and business opportunities for hundreds of people.

Their entry to the entertainment sector came in the form of the Take 5 Disco on Vicar Lane, which became a beehive for local TV and sports celebrities. The future Sheffield club owner Peter Stringfellow cut his teeth there as one of its first disc jockey-managers.

In the 1970s, the venue was relaunched as The Grecian Palace, an upmarket dining and dance venue.

Meanwhile, Paul had been playing for Leeds United as reserve team goalkeeper under Don Revie, training with such legends such as Billy Bremner, John Charles and Paul Madeley.

But it was a secondary career to the family’s burgeoning coffee bar network, which by that time included Number 18, Minerva, Four Cousins, Carousel, Del Rio and Brubeck’s, amongst others.

They were merely the tip of the iceberg, though, and by the middle of the decade their business empire had also reached Barnsley, Bradford, Doncaster, Halifax, Huddersfield, Keighley and Sheffield. The brothers created more than 30 firms including restaurants, coffee houses, bars, nightclubs and even their own bakery and market garden to supply their venues.

In the early 1980s the operation grew again, with Pavlo’s Greek Taverna and Valentino’s Nightclub on Albion Street, as well as the Jubilee Wine Bar and American Diner on The Headrow. The brothers even ventured across the Atlantic to New York and opened a restaurant/nightclub in Times Square.

Lesser known was their ownership of Kennedy Travel in Barnsley, and North America Travel in Leeds.

Paul remained a bastion of the Greek community in Leeds and held positions of authority at the Greek Orthodox Church in Harehills.

In 1967 he obtained his light aircraft pilot’s licence and sponsorship from Pan American to train as a commercial pilot.

He is survived by his partner Pat, children Jason and Patra, son-in-law Paul and by his grandchildren and great grandchildren.