Abandoned Olive Tree restaurant to be transformed by Preston entrepreneur

An empty former restaurant at Preston's historic Miller Arcade is set to be transformed into a new British Brasserie by a Preston restaurant owner.

Tuesday, 12th October 2021, 1:07 pm

Local businessman Mark O'Rourke, owner of the popular Fino Tapas restaurant, Winkley Street Ale House and Mexican eatery La Neta will take over the premises that has been sat empty since the Olive Tree restaurant closed suddenly in August.

The former restaurant on Lancaster Road is set to be transformed into a British Brasserie in 2022, serving high-quality British 'pub style' food.

But it will also be used as a temporary Fino Tapas restaurant when the main Guildhall Street site closes next month for a refurbishment.

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The former Olive Tree restaurant will be reimagined

The previous Olive Tree site, which still operates its restaurant in Lytham, will be used as a temporary Fino Tapas restaurant throughout Christmas, hosting private parties and bookings before being fully refurbished in the new year.

The Post previously called for the historic Miller Arcade to be utilised and have its future guaranteed, as numerous empty plots sat empty.

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The restaurant closed suddenly in August but will be used as a pop up Fino Tapas

Owner Mark told the Post: "The plan with the former Olive Tree is initially to use it as a pop-up Fino Tapas restaurant so we can close our Guildhall Street site for the first three weeks of November to get new flooring throughout, a new kitchen and a bit of a refresh as well as a woodfire oven to cook our whole fish in.

"From the end of November when Guildhall Street reopens, we will still use it as a Fino Tapas pop up for Christmas parties allowing us to have private rooms for up to 45 people or the whole building for up to 200 people with a buffet.

"From January, we will fully refurb the Miller arcade site and open as a British Brasserie restaurant serving great quality local and seasonal produce. Imagine great Ribble Valley pub food.

"The reasons behind pursuing the site are mainly its great location - its on the high street near busy restaurants and bars and Miller Arcade has fantastic operators like Baluga, Rise and Iceberg. Soon to have Mowgli, which in my opinion is going to be a great asset to the Preston dining scene that has seen great improvements already in the city."

Mark owns Fino Tapas as well as other city centre businesses

Mark's exciting plans for a new restaurant celebrating British food will include supporting local producers, including sourcing stock from Alistair Hargreaves in Walton-Le-Dale, and Livesy's Butchers.

"I think Preston has been lacking really good British food that is locally sourced. We have so much around us it seems a shame not to base a menu around it.

"With 263 reopening mid-November under the helm of a great established Lancashire chef it will be nice to have a venue to bounce off and potentially use as a starting point for chefs that want to learn the highest level of cooking ability."

Mark Whittle, Manager of the Preston Business Improvement District (BID) said: "The Miller Arcade is one of the most ornate buildings in the city centre, with a strong line up of tenants.

"Hearing that the long-awaited Mowgli restaurant is now confirmed is a real boost. Preston boasts some great places to eat, drink and socialise, and operators like Mark O’Rourke, who has confirmed his intention to take over the Olive Tree premises, is further great news.

"We wish both operators, and their teams, success and would encourage people to get behind the venues."

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