Final preparations are now being made, ahead of the Dean Road establishment’s grand opening.
But it hasn’t all been plain sailing for the Wyvestow’s Bar Bistro project, according to manager Vane Ristov.
He said some of the obstacles the restaurant has faced during its final pre-opening preparation work, as soaring Covid infections has seen South Tyneside have highest case rate nationwide.
"It’s been a bigger challenge than I’d expected, to be honest,” he said.
"The situation with self-isolating staff and with finding new staff has been really difficult. But we’re getting there finally.
“I’ve been a restaurant manager for more than 10 years, and here in South Shields for more than seven years. This has been a completely new experience for me, but I have a really good feeling about it – despite all the difficulties.”
She also spoke of some of the challenges the business has faced over the past 18 months.
"It’s been a nightmare trying to recruit during the pandemic,” she said.
"We put an advert for an apprenticeship at the local college and there were no applicants across hospitality. With the uncertainty of the various lockdowns, it seems like staff have moved into other sectors.
"That said, though, we’ve got some really good chefs on board – the food’s amazing. And perhaps opening now, as opposed to early last year – which we had aimed to do at an earlier stage – will have been for the best, given how everything’s played out this past year.
“With the staff we’ve got, Vane as manager, and the interior design, I think we’ve got something special to offer people now. So hopefully we’ve got it right.”
Mr Ristov added: “When Kerry and [partner] Paul approached me, I could tell straightaway that this was going to be a good project.
"I’m hoping people can see that, too. Now I’m just looking forward to having a laugh with customers old and new when they come through our doors here.”
Plans to convert the former Workwear and Schoolwear Company shop space into a bistro were given the green light by South Tyneside councillors back in 2018.
Completion of the development has, however, been set back by more than 18 months owing to delays brought on by the coronavirus pandemic.
With their letting agency next door, having relocated the business from its former site around 100 yards away, Mrs Brown will – along with her husband, Paul, who co-runs Wyvestow’s and Brown’s Letting Agents – look to keep a close eye on the operation.
"After all this time, we’re just so excited to get going now,” Mrs Brown added.
"I just want to thank everyone in the area for their support, positive responses to what we’re doing and kind words. We can’t wait to welcome them in.”
Wyvestow’s is set to open on Friday, July 16. For bookings call: 0191 9338903.