A Glasgow restaurant family has unveiled its first venture in the Scottish capital in a "spectacular" £1 billion location that has been set in place since the start of the year by Danielle Fleming.

She and sibling Ryan Dexter are taking on 50 staff for the new Salerno Pizza space in the St James Quarter, a prominent site in the huge shopping, hospitality and leisure development next spring, after father Alan helped steer their ambitious project.

They had just concluded the deal when the pandemic struck.

Ms Fleming said: “The St James is something that has been discussed in my family for a long time and my father Alan was extremely keen to be involved and really has pursued this from the outset as something he knew was going to be a spectacular and unique opportunity and was just adamant that we had to be part of it some way, shape or form.

"So we are taking a unit on the fourth floor which is the dining and leisure floor."

READ MORE: Dexter family-owned restaurant firm to open in Edinburgh

One way to enter will be by a sweeping stair wrapped round the side of the centrepiece W Hotel, to the fourth floor with Salerno the first unit as you come in on the right.

HeraldScotland: The W Hotel in the St James Quarter.The W Hotel in the St James Quarter.

Brands such as SushiSamba restaurant group and Bonnie & Wild are taking sites among cinema and bowling facilities while Salerno will occupy a 3,500 sq ft space on the premium floor.

“It is huge, but exciting. We are looking to try to fit in about 130 seats, socially distanced," Ms Fleming said.

“We hope to be able to continue with plans to make it fairly communal in the seating, whether or not that has to be spaced out to begin with as the tier system develops.

“Hopefully it will be at the tail end of things in the spring next year.”

The restaurant will only sell pizza.

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“Pretty much the whole concept is based around the Neapolitan pizza and that whole artisan process so that’s what we wanted to be front and centre.

“The whole operation is based around it being very simple, very classic Italian and that's all that we are going to be doing in the venue, so it is going to be pizza, wines, beers, soft drinks, coffees, a small selection of Italian desserts and that’s us.

“We are probably going to start with circa 50. It is hard to predict. Hopefully it is going to be busy when it opens in spring time and it should coincide quite nicely we hope with the end of the restriction period.

“We are anticipating being from the offset so we are going to have a fairly large front of house team and actually a fairly small kitchen team.

“All the chefs are Italian and we’ve been working with very closely with an Italian executive chef over the last year to create our recipes and our style and exactly what we are looking to achieve and continuity is absolutely at the forefront of what we are trying to achieve.

“It’s our largest team so far.”

The family has managed to keep on all its staff at Barca Tapas, NY American Grill and Cranachan in Princes Square and the Willow Tea Rooms in Buchanan Street, which they took over in 2019.

Older customers have been fewer, but in some cases a younger clientele has helped keep turnover up.

“We have survived so far. Like everywhere it has clearly been a terrible year for us, just something that hits you out of the blue, sort of traded on and off with the restrictions.”

A further Scottish Government update is due on Tuesday. Ms Fleming said: "At this point, (Christmas) expectations are completely curtailed. We naively thought that was us out of it in July and it just be a case of building our way back up, and knew Christmas wasn’t going to be the same but thought we would be trading throughout so the restrictions have been really quite tough and the tier system is very tough on our industry."

It is hoped a combination of the vaccine and lifted restrictions in the lead up to the opening will help the St James meet expectations.

Ms Fleming said: "We appreciate that it necessary and it is clear that everybody needs to work as a collective to cut down interaction until we get to the point of the vaccine being rolled out.

"The news of the vaccinations has allowed us a sigh of relief that there is an end point in sight. I think that was the most difficult thing, not know when this was going to end. The St James Quarter was all set up and funded pre-Covid, but it was very close.”

She added: “We are proud to say that we’ve kept everybody throughout the entire period.

That was our number one concern, just how was this going to work and were we going to be able to support everybody throughout it. The furlough has been a fantastic scheme. Everybody has held on and come and done what’s asked and adapted. Certainly when things were up and running in September trade was reasonable, so we know that is going to come. We are just using that (down) time to make some improvements where we can."

She says: “We’re very excited to get back, having spent so much time away from the restaurants this year, it is exciting to get back and involved in something that has a real buzz about it."