The new 180-cover site will be situated within the Brighton branch of budget hotel chain Umi on the city’s seafront, a space previously occupied by short-lived restaurants The Arrogant Frog and Umi Grill.
Having launched in Umi’s restaurant space in May 2009, The Arrogant Frog closed less than 12 months later, to be replaced by interim concept Umi Grill during the summer of 2010.
However Ilic, who owns four Little Bay restaurants in London and one in Belgrade, said he was sure his concept would be successful.
“I am confident it will do well because it’s totally different to what’s been there before,” he said. “I’m not depending solely on tourists - they are welcome always - but I will create the place to be more for regular customers.”
Steve Lowy, founder of Umi Hotels which also operates properties in London and Moscow, said he felt the Little Bay concept would fit well with the Brighton hotel.
“We had experience of people being in there previously and these guys have more experience with multiple restaurants. We covered the space last summer just to break even but we felt it’s really important for the hotel that it works because we like having that facility there.
“It’s a tough market down there but I think Little Bay are pitching it at the right level. What they do is a lot of fun and good value which is what you need on the seafront.”
Little Bay Brighton will be open for breakfast, lunch and dinner until midnight seven days a week, with regular opera entertainment evenings.
A three-course menu before 7pm will cost £11.50, while parties of 10 or more can enjoy a three-course meal for £7.95.
“We have always been reasonably priced, that’s what Little Bay is known for," Ilic said. "Good value for money using fresh ingredients at a low price.”
Ilic added that the group had been looking to expand outside of London for some time.
“Once the restaurant is performing well I will look to open in some other towns as well, perhaps Birmingham for starters,” he said.
Ilic said he was initially attracted to Brighton after the success of his café concept Food Ilic, which opened in the city 18 months ago.
He now also intends to expand the Food Ilic concept, which centralises around a menu of 12 salads, into London.
“I will go next to Pret a Manger because Food Ilic will have hot food and salads but not sandwiches, so whatever they put in a sandwich I can put in filo pastry.”
Ilic is currently looking for premises in London for Food Ilic, and hopes to open a second site in the capital by the end of the year.