A LARGS restaurant has been voted the Best Newcomer at the 2021 Scottish Italian awards – after a £100,000 makeover.
The Allegria on Largs seafront scooped the prestigious honour at a glittering ceremony in Glasgow.
It marks a major turnaround for the former Morris’s after its now owner Maria Tims ploughed the six-figure sum into the Gallowgate Street venture.
Maria says she is ‘thrilled’ to have received top recognition in her first year of trading.
She added: “None of this would have been possible without the tremendous support we have, and continue to have, from the amazing people of Largs, Ayrshire and beyond.
“It is a dream come true to win.”
Maria told the News it took three and a half months of painstaking labour to restore the former Morris’s.
She explained: “I used all of my savings built up over 14 years running a cleaning company, and support from my husband, who runs a restaurant in Glasgow.
“Opening up during a pandemic was obviously a concern but I just wanted to put my heart and soul into the business and prayed it would work out. the moment I walked through the doors I could picture what I wanted to create.
“I have had massive help from North Ayrshire Council and Business Gateway, who helped me access start-up loans. I have personally spent over £100,000 on the new look premises, but it has all been worth it.
“Every day during the construction work there was something to deal with but I didn’t care – I was determined to see it through and open up.”
Specialising in homemade pasta and pizza, the first year has been testing, Maria admits.
She explained: “It has been a daily battle to get supplies at times, but we have always managed to find a way to make sure we bring in high quality produce.”
The restaurant opened on August 29 and just two months later, was shortlisted for the award.
Maria added: “I love every moment, from opening the doors in the morning to switching off the lights at the close of play each day. Being based on Largs seafront with its glorious views makes every day special.”
Maria is pictured with her husband Daniel collecting her gong.