RESTAURANT options in Guisborough are continuing to expand and develop, following the move of the Cookfellas restaurant to the former Black Swan pub on Westgate.

Now a new bar and restaurant has been opened in the former Cookfellas premises on Church Square in Guisborough. Husband and wife team, Darren and Kirsty Ellison have moved from Leicestershire to establish Popi-Mae’s Restaurant and Bar in the building as a relaxed family-friendly independent bar, serving freshly made stone-baked pizzas and the famous Teesside speciality parmos, eat in or takeaway.

The couple were good friends of Wayne and Helen Leonard of Cookfellas, who persuaded them to move and take over their former premises. Kirsty, 47, said: “They rang us up a couple of months ago and asked if we fancied a move and a change. We’ve got four children and three are adults, they are still in Leicestershire, but we brought our youngest son with us. After the pandemic, jobs are really hard to come by at the minute so we thought why not.”

Darren, 48, was a chef in Leicestershire and they have both worked and lived in France. Darren said: " I was a head chef at an Italian restaurant in Leicestershire for two years. We had a log-burning pizza oven so I was pretty well trained on that but parmos is a pretty new thing for us. We’ve had them when we came up and visited Wayne in the past. We’ve been visiting the area for the past 20 years so we aware that they existed but it was a little conversation that Wayne and I had over a few drinks one night and said ‘wouldn’t it be nice to give them a bit more, rather than just cheese on the top’.

"So far, we’ve had nothing but good compliments and no negative comments towards them and people seem really happy with them.”

All pizzas and parmos are hand-made and cooked fresh to order. The bar also offers a Sunday brunch and a pizza party for up to 15 people from Wednesday to Saturday.

The couple now live in the premises and are looking forward to staying in the area. Darren said: “We’re going to stay and make this a success for as long as we can, probably until our children start having children and then we’ll see what the future holds for us. For the foreseeable future we’ll be staying here but we really do love it.” Kirsty added: “We’ve settled really well and the people here are very, very friendly. We’ve got Wayne and Helen just down the road and they’re still involved in this as well. We’ve got decent back up and friends that are close by."

Orders and reservations can made by calling 01287-631100 or via the Facebook page.