A FORMER social club which had lain derelict for nearly three years has been brought back to life as a thriving Italian restaurant and pub.
Signatures had built up a loyal band of customers at its former site in Sunniside but moving to the old Lord Castlereagh RAOB Club in Silksworth has given them the trade they needed to survive.
Carolyn Sinclair, who co-owns Signatures, said: “This is a great location in a nice area with nice people and we felt there was a gap in the market for a good restaurant in Silksworth.”
Work began in March to transform the site in Wynyard Street and thousands of pounds have been ploughed into bringing it up to scratch.
Since opening, the Signatures team has enjoyed a stream of custom through their doors.
Carolyn said: “The problem with the old site in West Sunniside is that we were on the outskirts of the town centre. We did OK on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays, but other nights we really struggled. Here, we are getting people in every night.”
The restaurant has also changed its menu ditching many of the English dishes it says people only ordered for special occasions, such as venison, in favour of Italian classics.
Carolyn said: “We are off the beaten track here but it’s proved to be a little gem. We have more walk-ins here than we ever did over the town.
“I think the locals are pleased that we’ve done something with the old club, which was known as ‘Buffs’, as well.”
The building is still split into two, with Signatures running on one side and The Castle Bar pub on the other.