West Kilbride's newest restaurant is preparing to open to the public today (February 11) for the first time.

The Spanish style Cita Tapas is situated at the former site of Chu Chus restaurant, on West Kilbride's railway station platform.

Cita will officially open today, and regular opening hours will be from 5pm onwards, Wednesday to Friday and from 12pm on Saturdays and Sundays.

One of the biggest changes from the former site is in the seating arrangements. Where Chu Chus only held around 20 covers, Cita will be able to seat 44 inside, which can be expanded with their outdoor decked area in the summer months.

It took a lot of work to increase this capacity, including the removal of the chimneys from inside the restaurant as these ran right from the cieling to the ground.

This is something owner Chris McMail said really increased the workload before launch.

Project manager Caitlin McMail, emphasised how much work has went into getting where they are now.

She said: "The amount of work has been crazy and something I think we really underestimated. The building really was a shell so it was the case of doing absolutely everything.

"The building is a listed building which also made things slightly more difficult but it’s all been worth it as we have been able to preserve the original look of the building."

Other start up challenges were made increasingly difficult as Covid-19 contued to have an influence on the process.

Caitlin commented: "Getting the right team was another challenge, made more difficult by COVID, but we knew exactly the kind of people we were looking for and thankfully now we’ve got the best people in place.

"For ordering stock we’ve been keen to use as many local suppliers as possible so it’s been great to find out how much variety local businesses have to offer."

Iain Telford's appointment as head chef was announced on social media in December.

He has spent time working in both London and France but has been based on the west coast of Scotland for the last 20 years.

Front of house manager Scott Palmer previously worked at the nearby Seamill Hydro.

Cita held soft launch events earlier this week, providing the opportunity for some locals to sample the food, and staff to get used to how a day's service will be.

Caitlin, who attended all of these events, said: "It was a mad rush to get everything organised in time for the soft launches but we’re over the moon with how they have went.

"The feedback from everyone has been overwhelmingly positive for everything - the interior, staff and most importantly the food. Everyone’s been raving about the meatballs and fillet steak.

"The response from the local community has been amazing and we’re so grateful. People have followed the Cita journey on social media since 2018 and were glad to finally be at the stage where we can share all of our hard work with everyone."

By popular demand, Cita will also open on Valentine's Day (even though they would usually be closed on a Monday).

Caitline hopes to grow on this initial buzz as the restaurant moves forward.

She said: "For the future we hope Cita becomes the place people from both West Kilbride and the other local towns and villages love to visit to enjoy brilliant food and wine in a relaxing atmosphere."

To book a table visit https://citatapas.co.uk/ and their Facebook will provide all the latest updates.