Media Release: Tasty new chapter for bookshop ladies in Glasgow restaurant


DINNER for a group of former colleagues turned out even tastier when they booked a meal in the famous place where they used to work.

Pesto Glasgow, one of the city’s newest Italian restaurants after a £1 million refurbishment, is located in what was for over 250 years the flagship, landmark John Smith Bookshop in St Vincent Street.

The privately-owned restaurant was happy to welcome the special group of diners at the weekend and before placing their orders they were given a guided tour of their old place of work.

“We didn’t need to look up directions to the restaurant,” said Sue Bryson, who has been meeting up every six weeks for the past 12 years with her fellow John Smith Bookshop managers.

“We enjoy our get-togethers and when we learned that number 57 St Vincent Street was now a restaurant, we were intrigued and just had to make a reservation there.”

The ladies taking a walk down memory lane were Joan Douglas, Jean Long, Sharon Tornow, Christine Anderson, Sue Bryson and Gloria Miller, who still works for the company at Strathclyde University’s Jordhanill branch.

In total they can boast over a century of service with John Smith, the oldest, and still thriving, bookseller in the English-speaking world. The company, which has been awarded the Academic Bookseller of the Year Award for the past five consecutive years, now has 25 shops located in universities throughout the UK.

“It has been very tastefully changed,” said Sue. “We were pleased to get a tour of the building, too, so we appreciated that very much. It brought back happy memories.

“It was a friendly and enjoyable place to work. It was a treat to be back. We enjoyed the visit, the kind attention of all the staff and the lovely food.

“All in all, a special night. We will be back.”

Pesto, which has been open for less than six months, specialises in dishes called Piattini, meaning small plates in Italian.

The idea is that you can order five or six dishes between a couple of diners but enjoy a selection of different tastes in one meal.

Francis Carr, the restaurant’s general manager, said: “We were really pleased when we got the booking to learn of the ladies’ connection with the building through their days as book sellers.

“It was a pleasure showing them around and we’re delighted they enjoyed their visit as well as their meals. We are pleased they are planning a return visit, too.”

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