A taste of the USA has come to South Tyneside with the transformation of a popular pub into a new-look diner.
Bosses at The Riverside – Longhorns Barbeque Smokehouse say they are hoping for big things – especially in the size of the servings.
They insist the smoked meat-based menu – copied from a popular American model of eating – will leave customers with little room for seconds.
That is why there are no starters or desserts – just what they describe as “good, hearty mains” and an imaginative range of drinks.
The outlet, previously known as The Riverside, at the Mill Dam, South Shields, and operating as a cocktail and tapas bar, opened for business on Friday.
It the first franchise in the planned national expansion of the original Barbeque Smokehouse in Mosely Street, Newcastle.
Manager Derrick Crookston, 32, who worked at The Riverside four years ago, and at other South Tyneside venues, said: “It is new concept for this part of the world.
“It is based on a very well-liked menu in the US, and I’m sure it will also prove to be very popular here.
“We specialise is smoked meat meals, anything from pork, brisket, ribs, wings and sausage, but there’s also a couple of vegetarian options, and everything is gluten-free.
“They are big portions, we want people to enjoy a good filling meal, and service will be fast. It’s not a big menu but it’s a very good rustic menu.”
He added: “I was at The Riverside four years ago when it opened as a cocktail and tapas bar, and I love it here.
“It’s small and intimate, and even with just a few people in the atmosphere is excellent.”
He added: “The location is great.
“The venue next door opened only last week and there’s also a couple of really good real ale bars nearby.”
Derrick is being supported by kitchen manager Max Burton, 26, and a team of around five other staff, with others being recruited.
Only the venue’s ground floor is currently open.
Work to modernise the first floor should be completed early in the New Year.
When fully open, there will be space for 108 places, and punters can also just pop in for a drink.
An official launch opening is planned for Friday, January 12.
The venue is open from noon on Thursdays to Sundays, closing at midnight on Thursday and Sunday, and 2am on Friday and Saturday.
Anyone interested in applying for a position should contact Derrick.