The former Olive Tree restaurant in Preston will reopen in 2022 as an English brasserie.Advertisement
New leaseholder Mark O’Rourke is a local restauranteur who owns several Preston restaurants, such as Fino Tapas, La Neta, 263 and Winckley Street Ale House.
The Preston Olive Tree closed in August with Lytham, Chester and Stockton Heath remaining open.
The city centre venue is to remain a restaurant but will lose its former name. Mark and his team are yet to choose a new one, but they expect to decide and open the new location by January 2022.
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The team are currently in talks with two head chefs to open a gastropub that aspires to a food quality deserving of two AA Rosettes.
Mark said: “Imagine the best pubs you have eaten at in the Ribble Valley – that sort of level of food.”
Following the closure of the Olive Tree in August, staff moved to the Lytham restaurant, but the team are recruiting all new staff for the Miller Arcade location.
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Mark said: “From what I can grasp, Olive Tree has retained all staff and moved them to different sites.
“I saw plenty of job opportunities. At the moment, we employ just over 100 people, and there’s always room for more. We’re always actively putting job adverts out, but chefs are few and far between now, which is a bit of a nightmare for us.”
But Mark will use the time available while the restaurant undergoes refurbishment and the team recruits new staff. They plan to utilise the property in the interim before opening to launch a pop-up offshoot of Fino Tapas.
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Previously, a section of the building was due to become an apartment block, but Mark and the team have acquired the entire property. The top floor will become a restaurant space, and the second floor will be the new head office and central production kitchen for Fino.
Mark said they are closing Fino on Guildhall Street for the first two or three weeks of November while they rip out the old kitchen, replace it and install new flooring throughout the entire building.
During this period, the team will utilise the Olive Tree space to run a pop-up Fino Tapas before transforming the restaurant into an English brasserie. The pop-up will continue over Christmas while the team holds festive parties.
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Mark said: “It’s a really good unit. We’ve had lots of requests for Christmas parties. With the current, we cannot facilitate all of them. It makes sense to use that space.
“Mid November, our original Fino will be back open for bookings. So we will have two sites throughout November.”
Mark hopes to continue growing the businesses and plans to refurbish the other Fino Tapas sites. The Blackpool site will open over the coming weeks, and the team will revamp the Kendal and Chester locations afterwards.
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He said: “When I took on the Guildhall Street site, time and money-wise, we weren’t able to do a full refurb – lighting, flooring and a new kitchen.
“Taking on the solitary unit has given us a window of opportunity to close to do that work. It’s really difficult to close a restaurant for two or three weeks because you can lose on sales. It’s allowed us to utilise the Miller Arcade property so we can remain open as Fino Tapas throughout.”
To apply for a role with Fino Tapas, email CVs to email@example.com
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