A Larbert family-run restaurant has been named Scotland’s ‘Best Newcomer’ in prestigious industry awards.
Ciro’s, based at Glenbervie Golf Club, won the accolade at the Scottish Italian Awards after beating off competition from 15 other hospitality venues.
Owners Ciro and Nikki Cirillo are delighted with their latest taste of success after scooping `Best Family Run Italian Restaurant’ for their previous business at the awards three years ago.
And the honour is especially welcome after a difficult few years which saw the family rebuild their business following a devastating fire and then face the challenges of the Covid pandemic and restrictions.
Nikki said: “It was brilliant to win the award and we were all so proud when our name was called out.
“Even though the Ciro’s name has been established for many years, we only opened at the golf club seven months ago.
“This is a brand new venture for us running a standalone Italian restaurant within a golf club and catering for both golf club members and the public.
“It’s going well so far and we’re really honoured to be recognised for our achievements and singled out as ‘Best Newcomer’ by the judges at the Scottish Italian Awards.”
Nikki and Ciro, who started working in his uncle’s pizzeria in Naples when he was just 12, launched their first business Ciro’s in Callander in 2007 with Ciro as Chef and Nikki managing the restaurant.
The popular Italian eatery was forced to close after ten years when it was severely damaged following a fire which broke out in the flat above it.
However, Ciro and Nikki were determined to keep going and took over the management of the restaurant within Loch Tay Highland Lodges near Killin.
They ran Ciro’s there for three years, winning `Best Family Run Italian Restaurant’ at the 2018 Scottish Italian Awards, before completing their comeback by opening a stylish new restaurant at Glenbervie Golf Club in April.
Their two children Fabi, 21, and 20-year-old Cameron work part-time in the restaurant alongside a team of 25 staff – many of whom joined the family at the black-tie awards ceremony hosted by celebrity chef Aldo Zillo in Glasgow.
Finalists from venues across Scotland gathered for the glamorous Scottish Italian Awards 2021 with a total of 16 hospitality businesses competing for the ‘Best Newcomer’ award category.
They were selected during an initial public vote before a team of judges assessed each entrant on the challenges they have faced within their businesses, their ambitions, future plans and more.
Nikki says: “We were quite overwhelmed and shocked to win given the amount of competition from the amazing Italian community we have here in Scotland.
“Perhaps what made us stand out is the unusual business model we’re pioneering which sees us running our own restaurant within a golf club and which other golf clubs are now looking at introducing.
“We’ve also been working hard to bring in new events including a recent Italian wine tasting evening and have plans for whisky tastings and afternoon teas.
“We have strived to triumph over adversity at a tough time for businesses and are so pleased to be acknowledged for our hard work.”
Alan Reid, General Manager of Glenbervie Golf Club in Larbert’s Stirling Road, is delighted with the service the Cirillo family provide at Ciro’s which is open to members and non-members alike.
He said: “We moved away from the traditional golf club catering franchise to a restaurant within the clubhouse and bringing Ciro’s to our club has been a real breath of fresh air.
“The increase in footfall through the clubhouse has been significant but it is the increased level of service and quality of produce which our members have remarked upon which really matters to us.
“The success of the venture – driven by Ciro, Nikki and their team – has drawn attention from other clubs who wish to follow our lead and we’re all thrilled to see Ciro’s crowned `Best Newcomer’ – this really is a well-deserved honour.”
For more details about Ciro’s, visit www.cirositalianrestaurant.co.uk