Louise Toye (55) hopes to open Luci’s Bar and Kitchen on the High Street this summer and is currently busy converting the former office building into a restaurant. The eaterie is named after her daughter Luci and is also a nod to her “inspirational” Aunt Lucia, who passed away last year.
Louise said: “As a child I idolised her. She lit up a room. Everybody loved her.
“This is our first restaurant. Though my Uncle Massimo’s father bought a restaurant in Rome over 100 years ago and that is still in the family. My grandmother Maria had a restaurant in Portobello and a famous ice cream parlour called De Marcos.
“So this is something I have always wanted to do. Life has just got in the way.
“Now I’m at the stage where I would like to carry on this family restaurant tradition and bring it to Lasswade.
“It’s a dream come true. I can’t wait to get started.
“I have been to Rome to get a background on how a restaurant works. My cousin Mario who owns Alfredos, is coming over to help at the beginning.”
As well as Alfredos the family also currently has restaurants in Kuwait and Crete.
Louise received planning permission in January to convert the former office building in Lasswade, and refurbishment work began in March to turn it into a restaurant.
She said: “There is a lot of work needing done. The whole building has been totally changed. It’s very modern. We are trying to pitch it as not an Italian restaurant, but as a nice place to be which serves Italian food.
“We are going to have an open kitchen so customers can see what is going on.
“I think we have got a fantastic opportunity being right on the river bank. The window is dropped down so we can provide great views which will be lovely and relaxing for having a meal.
“I will be front of house, conducting the whole orchestra. My husband Jim is keeping on his full time job abroad but when he is home he will be heavily involved. Our two sons - Jonathan and Pete- and daughter Lucy, all adults now, will be involved as well. It’s a real family business.”