Brand new business Novellos has opened at the former Casa San Lorenzo site in New Road, Harraton, Washington, and in its first three weeks of trading is already proving popular,
It’s been opened by business partners Dean Lathbury and Dorian Koti who’d worked together at Antico restaurant in Neville’s Cross, Durham, and had been looking to start their own venture.
When Casa San Lorenzo closed its doors at the beginning of the year, they jumped at the chance to take on the well-known spot and believe it’s got a lot of potential.
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Dean said: “We had interest in this site for a while, so when it came on the market we did everything we could to get it. It’s so well known in the area and we can really see the potential in it. We know it can be more than it was.”
While the restaurant, which seats up to 70 people, just needed some modernising and some decor works, the pair have made more changes in the bar side of the venue which they’re trying to boost.
Improvements have included taking up the old carpet, adding feature wallpapers, grass walls, hanging trellis light fittings and neon signs.
Dean said: “The restaurant side is really popular and has already taken off since we opened, I think people in the area have really missed having a restaurant here. But we really want to build the bar side and have made it a more cosy and inviting place for people to come and have a social drink and chat.”
In the coming months a bar menu will be introduced and investments will be made in the beer garden at the front of the site which will match the botanical theme of the bar.
A new addition will also include the creation of a secret garden in a currently unused decked area on the first floor.
The name of the business is inspired by the Italian word for new, the restaurant’s location on New Road and new beginnings.
Dorian said: “It’s only been three weeks but we’ve had great feedback already.”
Food-wise, the menu features classic dishes with a twist, with a range of pizzas, pastas, steaks and more, with an early bird and a la carte menu available.
"Consistency is key for us,” said Dean. “We want people to know they can expect a good meal when they come here. We’re not inventing the wheel, but we try do to things a little differently, such as scotch egg but with nduja.
"Me and Dorian don’t just own the business, we work here too, so one of us is always here to make sure standards are upheld. It’s about great food, great service and greeting people with a smile.”
Novellos has created around 30 jobs for the area across the bar and restaurant side of the business.
Opening hours are 12pm to 10pm Monday to Thursday, 12pm to 11pm Friday and Saturday and 12pm to 8pm on Sundays when Sunday lunch is available.