Award-winning Falkirk Italian restaurant Gambero Roso has been gutted by a kitchen blaze, forcing it to lose scores of bookings at the busiest time of the year.
Nobody was injured by the Thursday evening fire, which is thought to have started from an electrical fault in a fridge, but stunned restaurant manager Giorgio Onori said “the whole restaurant” had been effectively destroyed.
The owners put a message on Facebook to their customers, and a notice in the restaurant window, but on Saturday many who had booked weekend meals were still not aware of the closure.
Mr Onori told the Herald: “I am trying to be optimistic and say I hope we can open in a month, but at the moment I really don’t know for sure how long it will take.
“Of course the main thing is that nobody was hurt, but we are so sorry to disappoint so many people – we will have people arriving, having booked, only to find us closed.
“It is also the busiest time of the year when bookings are particularly heavy, so from that point of view it is very bad – and we just want to let our customers know what has happened.”
In June the Burnbank Road restaurant became officially the best in the country after a double success at the Scottish Hospitality Awards.
The Gambero Rosso team, owners Antonio and Susan Pullucci and chef Antonio Penese, attended the glittering awards ceremony in Glasgow to claim the Central Restaurant of the Year and the Overall Restaurant of the Year.
Based on a public vote, the awards commended the talented individuals and businesses dedicated in delivering constant professionalism, effort and enthusiasm to ensure impeccable service to their customers.
The Burnbank restaurant has been getting rave reviews for a number of years.
Owner Antonio, who has been in the catering industry for almost 40 years, said: “It was a great night for us and a great night for Falkirk. “We didn’t expect to win because there were such a lot of finalists.”
Now the family face a battle against the odds to relaunch the restaurant in time for the festive season, when many evenings could normally have been fully booked.