Restaurateur Mark O'Rourke has announced plans to invest £2m in opening four new sites for his Fino Tapas brand across the north-west of England.
O'Rourke opened the first Fino Tapas in Preston in 2018. He plans to open two more sites in Lancashire over the summer, in Lytham and Blackpool, and a further two sites outside the county, in Kendal and Chester, due to open towards the end of the year. The new openings will create up to 250 jobs.
The Lytham restaurant is due to open in June in the former Gusto building on Dicconson Terrace, and in August the Blackpool restaurant will open in the former Bella Italia on Church Street. In Kendal and Chester the brand will take over two Grade II-listed town centre pubs. O'Rourke said he plans to open more sites across the UK.
The original Fino Tapas moved from its site in St Winifred's Street to a larger site, the former Tiggis on Guildhall Street, to meet the demands of social distancing and its Fino Delivery service.
O'Rourke said: "We're very excited to be extending the Fino Tapas brand across Lancashire, Cumbria and Cheshire. The Preston restaurant has a huge, loyal customer base and continues to attract new customers, thanks to a buzzing night-time culture and growing quality food and drink scene in the city.
"The Lancashire coast provides an opportunity to develop two great new sites in tourism destinations. Both Lytham and Blackpool have benefitted from multimillion-pound investments and look set to see a boost in staycations, as people look for traditional seaside breaks. Each restaurant will serve the authentic quality Spanish cuisine that we have become known for and reflect the style and ambiance of our first Fino Tapas, but they will have their own very individual character."
O'Rourke grew up in Preston and in 2017 opened the city's We Don't Give a Fork burger bar, followed by the Winckley Street Ale House in 2018. In 2019 he opened the fine dining restaurant 263 in the Winckley Square hotel. His latest venture, La Neta Mexican, opened during lockdown.