LEADING North Yorkshire chef Andrew Pern is planning a spectacular homecoming this summer – by opening his latest Star restaurant in Whitby.

Andrew, whose Star Inn at Harome has a Michelin-star, is a Whitby lad and will open the Star Inn The Harbour – with views over to the iconic Abbey – for mid-summer.

It's the latest expansion of his Star empire, following the success of The Star Inn The City, at Lendal on York's riverside, and the tapas-inspired Mr P's Curious Tavern, which opened last year in Petergate, a short stroll from the Minster.

Andrew, whose parents Alan and Sandra still live in Sleights, just outside Whitby, said opening a restaurant in his home town had been a long-held dream.

"It will be a seafood version of the Star Inn the City," said Andrew. "It will have 160 covers, 80 outside. It is on the harbour side looking up to St Hilda's Church and Whitby Abbey. You can't get a more picturesque view than that."

The restaurant is in the former Tourist Information office and the refit will have a suitable nautical theme.

Andrew says: "It will be very maritime. We will have a blue tartan carpet and lots of ropes, canvas and ships' clocks. There will be a few lifebelts as well."

Menu wise, Andrew says there will be something for all tastes and budgets, with a particular emphasis on seafood.

"It will be a fantastic mix of Star Inn the City and Star at Harome dishes and new seafood dishes which promote the area, the North East coast."

York Press:

Fish lovers can feast on the likes of whitebait and pickled cockles and mussels on the bar bait snack menu, while there is a choice of langoustines, North Sea lobster, and oysters under the shellfish-on-ice section. Starters include Scarborough Woof soup (from the Great British Menu); calamari; prawn cocktail with Bloody Mary Sorbet; mussels, and dressed crab stick. Seafood salad, dressed Whitby crab, halibut, and Dover sole all feature on the mains selection.

There will be a mix of meat and vegetarian choices too – as well as fish and chips.

Andrew has big ambitions for the venture and it is beyond making a success of the restaurant. He talks about doing for Whitby "what Rick Stein did for Padstow." He said: "We want to add to what is here and give people more reason to come to Whitby.

"We want to make people aware of what a great and lovely-looking town it is. Whitby is nicer looking than Padstow. It is more dramatic, looking up at the Abbey, and all the fun that goes with that. We want to add to that."

Besides traditional fish and chips, The Star Inn the Harbour will have an ice-cream parlour and sell desserts with a twist such as rhubarb and custard knickerbocker glory, banoffee sundae, and Black Forest gateau trifle.

The harbour site was much sought-after, and Andrew is delighted that the local councils were won over by his vision for the former TIC.

He said: "A lot of people wanted it, but it was nice Scarborough Borough Council and Whitby wanted a local person."

And he acknowledged his culinary CV most likely won over hearts and minds (and stomachs). "Rather than making it a burger joint or pizza parlour they have given it to someone with a good CV, with a Michelin background and holder of UK Gastropub of The Year."

The Star Inn The Harbour will create 50 jobs and Andrew is putting some of his best team in place for the launch, including Stelian Christea, formerly front of house at the Michelin-starred Star Inn at Harome. Head chef will be Wayne Gildroy, who Andrew studied catering with at Scarborough Tech.

Andrew grew up on a farm on the edge of the town. He got into food at the age of eight when his mother developed MS and he began helping her in the kitchen. His Dad ran a rough shoot and invited friends over. They were butchers and fisherman, who would bring bounty such as crabs and wild salmon and pressed gammons, recalls Andrew, who made dishes such as pheasant fricassee and woodpigeon terrine.

This June, the focus will be on surf rather than turf. "In summer, we will be serving fruits de mer overlooking Whitby Harbour," says Andrew.

If the new Star follows the success of its sister projects, Andrew's hope of turning Whitby into the Padstow of the North will be more than wishful thinking.