A new cosmopolitan pizza restaurant in Portadown is set to bring 27 new jobs to the area.
Portadown natives Adam and Claire Carroll have invested substantially in the development at Magowan West and the venue is set to officially open in December.
To be known as AIR (Artisan Italian Restaurant), the restaurant will boast top Sicilian chef, Daniele Ragona who has 30 years experience in London.
It is Adam and Claire’s second restaurant, with the first proving very successful in Dungannon’s Linen Green.
However, the couple (Adam is from Moyallen and Claire is from Derryall) were offered the opportunity to take two units at the Magowan West site by the building’s owners, who are also regulars at their restaurant in Dungannon.
Former Portadown College pupil Claire said they plan on starting to interview soon for front of house staff - when their new Italian front of house manager arrives to join the team soon.
Claire said: “It will be entirely our chef Daniele’s menu using his own dough recipes and dessert recipes.
“We will be sourcing local produce and meat and importing ingredients such as dry cured meats and flour from Italy,” said Claire, adding that they plan to serve pizzas, pasta, salads, home-made desserts and great coffee.
“We will be getting our alcohol licence on December 10 so will open officially after that. We are also getting our own coffee from a firm in Horsham, England which makes specialised blends.”
She also said there would be gluten-free and vegetarian options and a special focus on home-made specialities.
Claire revealed they are waiting on a large Valorini oven, custom made for them in Italy.
The couple, who have two children, Niomi, aged eight and Elijah, aged three, have opted for a contemporary atmosphere. “We are going for a trendy vibe with good music,” said Claire.
Adam, who is a well known car racing driver, has strong ties with Italy and, indeed, recently won the Ferrari Challenge.
The couple are getting ready for the Christmas season and have specialist events lined up.
They aim to run wine tasting events in association with Winerack in Stewartstown.
Adam and Claire plan to have a soft opening early in December prior to their liquor licence going through but after that, it is full steam ahead.
Upper Bann MLA Jonathan Buckley welcomed plans for the new restaurant.
The Upper Bann MLA said: “I am very pleased to welcome plans for a new pizza restaurant. It will be able to seat around 60, as well as operating a take-away facility.
“I am delighted to see another positive step towards regeneration of our town centre and enhancement of business growth. The development will provide further employment opportunities for the town and it is recognition that Portadown is great place to invest.”