See inside Sunderland's new Prego restaurant as it transforms former Martino's Seaburn site

A landmark seafront site has reopened its doors with a whole new look – and it’s looking pretty in pink.

Friday, 25th February 2022, 12:13 pm
Updated Friday, 25th February 2022, 12:20 pm

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The former Martino’s restaurant closed its doors at the end of October

Now, the owners of the building, Jet Leisure, have reopened the prime site at the bottom of Dykelands Road with a new identity.

The creation of Prego has seen the site undergo a major makeover of its bar and restaurant areas with neon signs, pink and floral feature walls and a new look games room with shuffleboards and electronic dart boards, which will be joined by retro arcade games in the coming weeks.

Prego has transformed the former Martino's site

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Jet Leisure have previously leased out the site, but decided to set up their own restaurant due to its importance in their property portfolio.

The site has been part of the family-run leisure firm for decades and director Solomon Reader, who runs the firm with brother Gavin, says they felt strongly about keeping it in the family business, especially after their father Kenneth, who founded Jet Leisure, passed away at the end of last year.

Prego opened with a soft launch this week for walk-ins, with bookings open from February 28. But, despite a low-key opening, the bar has already seen plenty of custom from people keen to check out the new look.

David Welsh, operations manager at Prego, said: “There’s been so much interest in the site, and a lot of excitement, which has been so promising for us. We really wanted to get this right for people.

The bar serves a range of cocktails. Bar staff Derek Moore.

"I don’t think we realised just how much of a miss the site has been, but we’ve had messages from people who’ve been coming here for years. It’s a great location in Seaburn, with the corner spot and a lot of visibility for people. People noticed the new signs going up and we’ve had so much custom already, just from natural footfall.

"There’s so much on offer in Seaburn for people now and Stack is a great addition, but we offer something a bit different as we’re a bigger space for people who want to dine indoors.”

Jet Leisure worked with Studio One Design for the design of the bar.

"We really wanted to make a statement with the new look, and Studio One have done a great job,” said David. “We wanted to create a good bar ambience so that it can stand alone as a bar in its own right, and not just as a restaurant.

The new bar area

"The site has great natural sunlight, which floods in during the day, but the neon signs and LED lighting help to give it a great look at night, too.”

More than 20 jobs have been created with the new restaurant, which will also be giving its outdoor area a makeover in time for summer.

New food development manager and head chef Mo Abraham was previously at Harry’s Bar in Newcastle, but said he relished the chance to bring something new to Seaburn.

"This is a great site and as soon as I saw it I knew there was so much potential,” he said. “The food is really soulful and everything is made fresh, including our pizza dough which we cold ferment for 24 hours."

PREGO has opened in the former Martinos's site.

He added: "We’re using the best produce, such as the best pasta and steak which has been matured for 28 days.”

The food really speaks for itself and there’s something for everyone.”

As well as classic Italian dishes, the menu features small plates, fajitas, nachos, burgers and a range of mac’n’cheeses.

Pizzas have a range of more unusual options, such as a version topped with cheeseburger and a salt and pepper chilli version.

There’s also a number of options for vegans and vegetarians, including macaroni topped with broccoli and cashew nut cream, jackfruit pizza and Prego plant burger.

Prices range from £9.50 for a tagliatelle carbonara and £8.50 for a margherita pizza to £26 for a premium fillet steak.

Head chef and food development manager Mohan Abraham.

A happy hour offer runs Monday to Thursday from noon until 8.30pm.

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PREGO has opened in the former Martinos's site.
PREGO has opened in the former Martinos's site.
PREGO has opened in the former Martinos's site.
PREGO has opened in the former Martinos's site.
PREGO has opened in the former Martinos's site.
PREGO has opened in the former Martinos's site.