A seafront restaurant set to bring up to 20 new jobs is finally to be served up after lengthy delays.
Anatolia Sea View Mediterranean eaterie is poised to open on the first floor of St Annes’ The Island leisure complex in June – three years on from proprietor Veli Kirk’s original target date.
Problems with the roof caused the opening date to be initially put back, while a new 20-year lease has also been negotiated - but the finishing touches are now being put to the restaurant and Veli is busy liaising with the St Annes JobCentre over new staff.
“There is no exact date yet but we are opening in June and we are really looking forward to it,” he said.
“It has been a long wait but it will be well worth it.
“The finishing touches are being put to the exterior and we are well on with the inside - it’s going to be a key feature of a vital part of St Annes and it will be open all year round.”
Veli, who is vice-chairman of the St Annes Enterprise Partnership, has run the Anatolia Turkish Grill restaurant in St Annes town centre since 2010 and has seen it recognised as the number one restaurant in Lytham St Annes by website Tripadvisor for the last five years, based on customer reviews.
The open barbecue eaterie in Park Road, with just 34 covers, is so popular that Veli regularly has to turn away more than 100 potential customers a week, he claims.
He estimates he has spent more than £300,000 on the Seaview premises - but was determined to make his dream of a seafront restaurant a reality, despite the structural hitches which have delayed the opening.
The Seaview premises, which will include a private function area as well as seasonal seating on a sea-facing balcony, will offer four times the town centre restaurant’s capacity, and Veli is particularly keen to welcome families all year round.
“It’s a wonderful location and offers so much potential, “ he said.
“We already have the cinema and the newly-refurbished swimming pool close by, along with all the various seafront family attractions, and this is the ideal site for a family restaurant offering a Mediterranean menu.
“St Annes is a lovely place and I am very proud of living and being in business here.
“I want to do my very best for the town and hope this will help bring vital further revitalisation to the seafront.
“After all, that is really the crown jewel of any seaside resort and we all want to se it thriving, not just in the day in season but in the evenings and all year round.
“We had real problems with the roof and it needed a complete overhaul, but I was determined to make this happen and, with a new 20-year lease now agreed with the landlords, I hope we can establish Anatolia Sea View as a really key location for family meals and celebrations.
“I am really excited.”
The restaurant offers 700 sq metres of space and a total of around 200 covers, with a capacity of 90 in the main dining area, with a further 30 in the function area, plus additional seating on the balcony.
The jobs created will cover all aspects of the restaurant, including waiting, bar and kitchen posts and, like the Park Road premises, which were unique in Lancashire at the time of opening, will have an open barbecue setting.
Coun Cheryl Little, St Annes town mayor and chairman of Fylde Council’s tourism and leisure committee, said: “I am delighted for Veli that this is finally going to happen.
“He has been a great ambassador for St Annes and this restaurant is really going to enhance the seafront and attract more and more people to that vital part of St Annes.
“A unique selling point such as this will lift the entire area and the new jobs are very welcome indeed.”