From one west coast to another...
Anna Whalan has been announced as general manager the new Gusto restaurant in Lytham – fresh from previously working in California.
Anna, 40, has worked in leading eateries around the world over the past 17 years and joins Gusto – which opens in Lytham next week – from luxury US hotel chain Loews Hotels with whom she was restaurant director in San Diego.
Fylde may be 5,300 miles from her previous life, but her new base has a special place in Anna’s heart as it was here that her parents moved into their first house together.
Newcastle-born Anna was also sold the area by boyfriend Steve Collinge, who splits his time between his role in advertising in America and his home in St Annes.
Anna said: “It is almost as if the stars were aligned when I heard about the job at Gusto Lytham.
“On the personal side, my parents lived here when they were first married, while Steve, who I met in San Diego, has always told me how beautiful the area is.
“Professionally, Gusto is a quality brand which I feel is perfect for Lytham.
“I feel really fortunate to have found a job with a really exciting, innovative restaurant company and have the opportunity to move home.
“We are currently putting our team together and we cannot wait to open the doors and bring the full Gusto experience to Lytham.”
Gusto – which has 12 restaurants across the UK – has invested more than £1 million in its new 4,000sq ft restaurant and bar in Dicconson Terrace, which opens on April 14 at 5pm.
Refurbishment work is now well underway at the Grade II listed building to create the new 130-cover restaurant and the company is currently recruiting for 60 newly-created jobs at the restaurant.
Anna added: “Everything is coming together very well. We are putting together a really strong team and I’m really looking forward to Gusto Lytham being the new hot spot in town.
“There is a real buzz around Lytham and we know the whole community is looking forward to coming inside to check us out.
“I’ve been in Lytham for a few weeks now and I have fallen in love with the town.
“There is very much a cafe culture here in Lytham. There are some very successful local restaurants, a big scene of dining out, a really good vibe and we are delighted to be part of that. I think Gusto will be a perfect fit. It will be great for families who want to relax in wonderful surroundings and enjoy quality food in a great atmosphere as much as it will be for those who want to come out with friends, enjoy and cocktail and have a great time.”