The sandwich chain on Brick Lane has prompted local hipsters to say the creative London neighbourhood is “losing its soul”, according to The Standard.
The outlet is on the corner of Bethnal Green Road and the north section of Brick Lane, where the building was once the Von Tromp pub and, most recently, the Benets of Cambridge ice cream parlour. One opponent to Pret taking over the site said it represented the gentrification of the area and said it would push smaller independent businesses out.
Another said the area was becoming “too mainstream and commercialised”. Residents also worried that Shoreditch’s transformation would result in rising living costs.
In its planning application, approved by Tower Hamlets, Pret said it would not cook food on-site and would design a muted black shopfront as opposed to its trademark maroon.
A spokeswoman for Pret said: “When designing the shop on Bethnal Green Road we wanted to reflect the history of the building and the area. The building was once a Victorian pub, but much of its character had been lost and its features had been painted over by previous tenants.
“Our design team took a lot of trouble to renovate it and used details such as a traditional glass fascia, gold-leaf detailing on the stonework and timber panelling internally.
“We feel the result is a confident-looking shop that enhances a busy junction.”