Baby, that’s a heck of a challenge…

Ryan Christian and Marina Whitwam
Ryan Christian and Marina Whitwam

A front-of-house specialist, Marina helped to open the Pasta Bar in Sharrowvale Road seven years ago and has been there ever since. So when the opportunity arose to buy the business it was just the chance she had been waiting for.

She and her partner, chef Ryan Christian, agreed the deal, set about refurbishing the place – and then discovered that Marina was expecting their first baby.

The restaurant reopened last week and the couple have just 12 weeks to establish their first business venture before their son or daughter is born. “It’s certainly going to test us,” says Marina.

She met Ryan when they both worked for restaurateur Toni Dente at Santino’s in Ecclesall Road.

She later moved to a restaurant in Ecclesfield and Ryan went to nearby Groucho’s. But when Dente launched the Pasta Bar, he asked Marina to run it for him – and two years later Ryan also joined the team, as head chef.

The couple wanted their own business, so when the Hunters Bar restaurant was put up for sale, it seemed the perfect opportunity. After 12 years together they also wanted a family – but the timing could have been better, they admit.

The Pasta Bar closed for two weeks but has now reopened with a brighter, more contemporary look.

A new menu, launched this week, features fresh pasta, a limited range of pizza, steaks and catch of the day, with much of the produce from local suppliers.

“The emphasis is on fresh, home-made food,” says Marina.

Prices range from £6-£13.95 and a two-for-one offer runs on Sunday and Tuesday nights.