Opera Pizzeria are expanding into a massive new restaurant – which will boast approximately double the capacity.
It comes after the family business took the exciting decision to expand into the premises next door – creating one newly refurbished restaurant, whilst maintaining the cosy, intimate atmosphere it has become so renowned for.
The team recently announced the fantastic news on their Facebook page:
“Happy new year everyone!!
“The Opera team are going through a huge transformation in 2016, the To Let sign beside us will now have to come down as we can now announce we will be occupying 3 units at our current location!!”
“Thank you to everyone who made it possible, we greatly appreciate every customer to have ever walked through our doors!”
It means one of Belfast’s busiest restaurants will soon almost double in size, with a new bar, huge new kitchen and 50-60 spaces.
Brother and sister Maeve and Alex Magee are the brains behind the business. Both Company Directors, they will be celebrating five years since they opened their doors come April 1.
“We hope to have all of the work done for then, because of course we’d like to celebrate our five year anniversary with our new-size restaurant. We actually opened on April Fools Day!” Maeve explains.
Indeed, coping with just 26 seats in the original cosy restaurant has proven a difficult task in the past. The hectic waiting list means the duo offer people the opportunity to go and have a drink elsewhere along the bustling hub of the Dublin Road, often recommending bars and great spots to go.
But due to the budget-friendly mid-week deals, Alex explains that on their busiest nights, people have faced such long waits that they needed each seat in the restaurant to clear – twice – before they could get a table:
“It’s Two for One Pizza nights on a Tuesday, so because we are so busy, it’s walk-ins only. We’ve found in the past we’ve had to recommend other restaurants on the Dublin Road to customers unable to get a table. We have a fantastic working relationship with all of the restaurants along this road.”
“So people have asked us for years when and where we are going to expand. But we don’t even have enough room here!”
“So we realised that we should take advantage of this opportunity now. Rather than having to set up a new restaurant elsewhere and having to ‘start all over again.’ We wanted to cater for the demand that we already have.”
The newly revamped space is going to see the current restaurant renovated into one massive kitchen. The new space will be renovated to make the new restaurant, toilets and a bar.
But anyone who thinks this spells the end of the famous Opera pizza takeaway, fear not.
“We are keeping the door in the original place in the current restaurant so that people can enter the takeaway without having to walk through the restaurant,” Alex assures us.
“Whilst we are renovating the original restaurant into one massive kitchen, we don’t want to take the feeling away of being able to see and enjoy the chefs making the pizza.”
“Our customers simply love that experience, so we’ll definitely be making sure to include hatches along the wall joining the kitchen with the restaurant – so that our customers can still enjoy watching the chefs hard at work!”
The addition of a bar – something new for Opera Pizzeria, which has always been renowned for its BYOB with no corkage – will be widely welcomed to those who come ill-prepared.
“The bar within the new restaurant will make such a big difference – as far too often we have diners who are left at an odd end when they turn up empty handed!” Maeve laughs.
Though thankfully, they assure us that BYOB will still remain – in addition to the drinks on offer from the bar:
“We have such a hugely loyal customer base who love the value offered by the BYOB. So whilst we are excited about setting up our own bar within the restaurant offering an exciting collection of drinks, we are also remaining considerate of those loyal customers who rely on the value of the BYOB!”
New additions to the menu are also sure to prove extremely popular amongst Opera’s ever-increasing clientèle:
“We will be creating even more exciting pizza options on the menu, as well as a few non-pizza alternatives – including pasta and Risotto options!”
The full project is expected to be completed by April – and we cannot wait…