NEWQUAY'S transformation from an 18-30s mecca to a family-friendly resort has taken a huge step forward following a £1.35 million investment by two restaurant owners.
Former London financier Andy Jenkins is spending more than £1 million to create an American-style barbecue smokehouse called The Bullpit at the old Level 3 club on Beach Road.
Meanwhile, hotelier Richard Cooper is opening a branch of his gourmet pizza and cider restaurants, The Stable, on the top floor of the Fistral beach complex, recently vacated by surf shop Quiksilver, at a cost of £350,000.
The new family-focused venues will be open all-year-round, creating up to 60 jobs, and will both be opening in April.
News of the investment comes as work begins on the restaurant hub at the Old Bus Station site, where high street names Prezzo and Frankie & Benny's will join a third brand, rumoured to be chicken chain Nando's.
The Cornish Guardian has also learnt that a Ben & Jerry's ice-cream parlour is set to replace the pet shop on Central Square.
Community and business leaders have said the influx of family-friendly restaurants shows Newquay is finally shedding its reputation as a stag and hen haven.
In a move unprecedented in the town, Mr Cooper even confirmed that all stag and hen parties would be banned from The Stable.
Emilie Calhaem, manager of Newquay's Business Improvement District, said: "It is great to see that these new restaurants are opening in the town. Investment like this will drive growth in the economy and offer more choice to locals and visitors alike. Seeing the growth in family-friendly restaurants across the town shows we are well on the way to a serious sea-change in perception."
Geoff Brown, Cornwall councillor responsible for the town centre, added: "It is very reassuring to see how Newquay is turning its image around and that most new developments are targeting the family market. New investors are now more confident in putting their money into our great town and hopefully we will see Newquay regain its status as the leading family-friendly seaside resort in the UK."
Both Mr Jenkins and Mr Cooper told this paper they had chosen to invest in a town that was "on the up".
Mr Jenkins, who grew up in America, said: "For a long time Newquay has been focused on the 18-30s scene and stag and hen dos but now we're seeing a big push to rebrand the town and make it really family-friendly. We feel there's a massive hole in the market to accommodate young families and provide a dining experience that they will love."
Out-of-town shopping complexes, such as the recently approved Trevithick Manor, would draw people into the resort who would then shop and dine in the town centre, he said.
Mr Cooper said his investment would have a knock-on effect as he used local suppliers and producers. "We are really excited about this," he said. "It's a brilliant location and Fistral is probably the most famous beach in Britain. We can all see that Newquay is really on the up."
Debbie Hume, planning agent for Monmouth Properties, who are developing the Old Bus Station, said she could not yet confirm the name of the site's third restaurant.
She added: "Work has begun on the site and it's full steam ahead. There are one or two things still to be resolved but they want to be open by summer."
Ben & Jerry's will be run by Newquay businessman John Lenton, who owns franchise rights for the ice cream company in the area.