The former Martino’s unit at the bottom of Dykelands Road has stood empty for the past few months after the local chain closed its seafront restaurant.
Now, it’s being turned into Prego by the owners of the building, Jet Limited.
The site has been part of the family-run leisure firm for decades and director Solomon Reader, who runs the business with brother Gavin, says they felt strongly about keeping it in their portfolio, especially after their father Kenneth, who founded the firm, passed away at the end of last year.
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"We love Seaburn and this site has always been part of the family business as it was one of the first that dad bought,” Solomon explained. “When dad died and Martino’s (who leased the building) left it felt like fate to keep it in the family, that the site was coming back, and we’re really excited about bringing it back to life.”
Designers and fitters are currently working on the building to give it a new look, but it will keep its popular bar, restaurant and games room layout.
More on the decor of the site will be revealed closer to the time, but it’s said to be “eclectic.”
Prego is expected to open mid-February, with the outdoor, dog-friendly seating area being given a new look in time for the summer.
The new menu will feature classic Italian dishes, as well as a section dedicated to mac ‘n’ cheese with different toppings as well as a range of of pizzas topped with everything from cheeseburger to hoisin duck. There will also be a vast cocktail menu in the bar.
The new look games room will feature shuffle boards, table football, retro arcade games and electronic dart boards.
Over the years, the site has welcomed a number of new seafront neighbours including House of Zen, which is also owned by Jet, as well as Seaburn Inn and Stack, which have proved hugely popular, with Stack welcoming 700,000 people through its doors in the first year of trading.
Solomon says it all helps to create a full seafront experience for people, with a broad range of attractions.
He said: "Seaburn is a brilliant piece of coastline and I think in lockdown it made people realise, even more, what we have here. It’s a real tonic for people in the North East.
"It’s always been a place for people to come, take in the fresh air, get a bite to eat and enjoy some entertainment, but now there’s even more choice. It’s making Seaburn bigger and better and it all helps to pull people in and to create a real seafront experience for visitors. With all the investment taking place, it’s an exciting time for Seaburn and an exciting time for Sunderland."
A number of other new additions are set to open in Seaburn in the coming weeks, including a new seafood restaurant in the old storage shelter on Seaburn promenade.
Prego, which will be open for breakfasts through to evening drinks, is creating new jobs and recruitment is currently taking place.
People interested in applying for a role can email [email protected]