Restaurateurs’ expansion boosts St Annes

Fifty Four restaurant, Wood Street, St Annes
Fifty Four restaurant, Wood Street, St Annes

The couple behind two of Lytham’s most successful restaurants have expanded into St Annes – and are predicting a prosperous future for Fylde’s beach resort.

Tony and Helen Vavoso have created 10 new jobs with the opening of the Fifty Four eaterie in the former Jack’s premises in Wood Street and are eager to build on the momentum which has made their Java and Spago restaurants in Lytham popular destinations for diners.

Helen and Tony Vavoso, owners of Java and Spago in Lytham and now Fifty Four in St Annes

Helen and Tony Vavoso, owners of Java and Spago in Lytham and now Fifty Four in St Annes

The new venture for the couple is at the heart of St Annes’ restaurant quarter and Helen said the opportunity to take over the prominent premises -–between the Travelodge and the town’s main post office – was ‘too good to miss’.

“We hadn’t been especially looking to expand but when these premises which had been Jack’s for so many years became available, we knew we just had to go for it,” she said.

“We have been delighted with how things have gone in Lytham and are delighted to be growing into St Annes.

“For some time now, I think St Annes has been relatively written off when compared to Lytham as a dining destination, but we envisage big things for St Annes over the coming years.”

“It has already started, with the number of events and attractions for visitors having grown rapidly recently and there is so much potential for the future.

“There are exciting times in store for St Annes and we want to be part of it.”

Fifty Four, which has seen manager Sean Bailey move across from Spago to take day-to-day charge, is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner, and is modelled on the Scandinavian concept of ‘hygge’ - an intimate, relaxing get-together.

“It is intended to be a thoroughly relaxing experience and we have already had very positive comments about the atmosphere,” said Helen.

“It is a very different menu offering to Spago and Java and we feel brings something entirely new to St Annes and Fylde.

“We love this area and are delighted to have opened another business here.”

The couple opened Java in 2009 and Spago in 2014 and they regularly attract customers from miles around as well as many long loyal diners from closer to home.

“We have regulars who come up from Cheshire and we are delighted with business in Lytham - but St Annes is very much on the up and up and it is great to have the opportunity to be now be involved there,” added Helen.

Fifty Four is named after the premises address in Wood Street, where Jack’s closed down last September after some 20 years.

The opening of the new-look restaurant is the latest restaurant jobs boost for St Annes, with 25 new posts having been created with the conversion of the former Queensway Harvester pub-restaurant into a Miller and Carter steakhouse and 20 new jobs on the cards when the Anatolia Seaview premises open at the seafront Island complex shortly.

Veli Kirk, vice-chairman of the St Annes Enterprise Partnership, who heads the Partnership’s food and drink section, said: “A warm welcome to Tony and Helen - it is great to see the former Jack’s premises open again and we are sure they will make a big success of Fifty Four.

“It is an excellent addition to what we feel is a great and growing dining offering in St Annes.

“We are really proud of the way the town is going places and building on its unique identity as a family resort and a thriving restaurant scene is a crucial part of that.”

Veli, who has run the Anatolia Turkish restaurant in Park Road for the last seven years, added that the finishing touches were currently being put to his Anatolia Seaview Mediterranean eaterie at The Island and that an opening date is set to be announced soon.