North East-based restaurateur plans Scottish expansion following Edinburgh restaurant acquisition

By Peter Ruddick

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Restaurant, Scotland

Popular Edinburgh restaurant La Lanterna has been sold to a North East-based restaurateur who plans to open more sites in Scotland under the brand
Popular Edinburgh restaurant La Lanterna has been sold to a North East-based restaurateur who plans to open more sites in Scotland under the brand
Dan Miller, one of the restaurateurs behind the Sambuca Restaurant group, has acquired popular Edinburgh Italian restaurant La Lanterna and has revealed he hopes to expand the brand and open 20 restaurants in Scotland in three years.

Miller completed the purchase of the Hanover Street venue after a deal was struck by specialist property adviser Christie & Co.

A new lease has now been agreed on the property and following a small refurbishment La Lanterna will re-open under the new ownership on 18 July.

However speaking to BigHospitality, Miller said he had ambitious plans for his restaurant business north of the border.

“I had been keen to come up to Scotland for about three years,” he explained. “It is all about trying to do what we have done in the North East up here – we would like to do 20 sites in Scotland over the next three years.”  

Miller is one of the directors of the North East-based Sambuca Restaurant group which has opened a number of restaurants also specialising in Italian cuisine.  

La Lanterna

Miller plans to build on the success of the La Lanterna name and open up more restaurants under the same branding and concept.

“I didn’t want to come up (to Scotland) and open one. We were ready about six months ago so I came up and looked at quite a few sites and I settled on this one because of the reputation it has and because of the good client base it has in a good location.”

La Lanterna has been a fixture on the Edinburgh dining scene since the late 1970s and popular owner Toni Zaino said it was with ‘mixed emotions’ that he had sold the business.

“I feel the time is right to move on and I would like to wish Dan and his team the very best, but I am also looking forward to spending time with my family as well as keeping an eye open for a smaller business opportunity,” he revealed.

Miller plans to keep the same traditional Italian offering but intends to develop a strong supplier network in order to cut costs and make the restaurant more affordable for diners. "We have got the menu and we have reduced the price by about 30 per cent," he explained.

"The restaurant has 62 covers and we normally turn the tables over lots of times a day. The intention is not to do a low number of covers and charge a lot of money - we work harder to turn the tables over and give good value."

Miller also revealed an agent was helping to find suitable locations for the expansion of the brand in Scotland - some venues are already under offer. "We want to try and open one every two months," he said.

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