New restaurant takes shape in heart of Preston

Progress on new restaurant SoLita in Winckley Square which is due to open soon.  Pictured is owner Franco Sotgiu with operations manager Daniel Kelly.

Progress on new restaurant SoLita in Winckley Square which is due to open soon. Pictured is owner Franco Sotgiu with operations manager Daniel Kelly.

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Forty-eight jobs have been created as Preston’s newest eaterie prepares for its big opening.

SoLita, one of Manchester’s most popular bar and grill chains, is set to open the doors on its eagerly-awaited fourth venue.

Progress on new restaurant SoLita in Winckley Square which is due to open soon

Progress on new restaurant SoLita in Winckley Square which is due to open soon

SoLita Preston will be open to the public from mid-July in the former Olive Press building in Winckley Square once operated by Paul Heathcote.

It will have a “soft launch” on July 13, where staff recruited mostly from the Preston area will fine tune and test the restaurant’s kitchen and facilities. With a nod to its Manchester sisters, SoLita Preston has been designed with feature lighting, bright colourful accents and a flash of neon.

Banquettes, booths and tables and chairs provide 200 covers over two floors.

A private dining room caters for a 50 and a large alfresco dining area will open before the end of the summer too.

Bespoke artwork commissions will adorn walls on both floors and the lower floor will feature a Preston- themed 10 metre wall mural by Russell Mehan.

The menu echoes favourites found at the chain’s Northern Quarter restaurant, which is recommended in the Good Food Guide.

Signature burger creations include the Manc-Hattan and grain-fed Angus steaks, with new burgers expected to be announced on opening day.

Co-owners Franco Sotgiu and Simon Pogson opened SoLita on Turner Street, Manchester, in 2012, aiming to deliver an American grill with a dash of Italian flair.

SoLita is listed in the Good Food Guide and also winner of Daily Mirror’s Best Burger in the UK title. It will be launching an extended menu for Preston which includes more grill items, summer salads and an extensive new cocktail list.

Franco said: “We’re excited – at last we’re almost here. We took our time, hoping to get it just right.

“We had to completely gut the kitchen and the interior has been transformed. As for the food – we’ve added to the menu, which we know is loved in Manchester but we wanted to add a lighter touch too.”

*See Tuesday’s LEP business supplement for more news on the restaurant.