LATER this year Malton’s set for a flurry of new openings. There’s Rarebird Gin Distillery coming to Talbot Yard, plus the smart bar chain Stew and Oyster, which plans to open in the old town hall.

There is a new Salumeria at Costellos Bakery unit on Navigation Wharf (think cured hams and farmhouse cheeses) and even master patissier Florian Poirot is eyeing up a unit for Macaroon and chocolate production.

YO Bakehouse is expanding onto Navigation Wharf to increase its wholesale business and there’s other irons in the fire which are still top secret.

One business which comes hot on the heels of Malton’s record-breaking food festival and should certainly give the town’s restaurant scene a boost is La Pizzeria.

Opening on the corner of Wheelgate and Finkle Street La Pizzeria will throw open its doors in the next few weeks.

The brainchild of the Fat Chef, aka Francois Strydom - the charming and talented South African restaurateur, Francois honed his trade working for Jamie Oliver in Manchester.

Francois’s new pizzeria is built around the impressive and huge wood fired pizza oven, which looks glorious in the entrance to the restaurant.

Having been designed specially for the Malton restaurant, it was delivered recently from Italy. Each one of the ovens is unique and this one is certainly a marvel to behold.

And it’s not just pizza that he’ll be cooking in there too.

Francois informs me that he’ll be roasting joints of meat, whole fish, wonderful vegetables and more.

The essence of his hip new place is that all the food, pizzas included, will be cooked over wood. Smoke, fire and food - heaven if you ask me.

And the décor’s not bad too. Think places like Pizza East in London and some of the cooler more modern pizzerias.

There’s loads of clean white tiling, acres of wood floor, an industrial touch here and there and even a fantastic antipasti bar built from corrugated iron.

The tables are chunky wood with square metal legs, the Victorian iron pillars have gone beef tomato red and there’s even a groovy outdoor courtyard at the back for alfresco pizza dining.

What’s so exciting about this new place is that it is also affordable. I wrote some years ago about how (in my view) the future of Malton’s restaurant scene lay in offering top gastronomic experiences, but at great value.

This is the first flowering of that concept. I’m sure others will follow suit in the coming months as there’s still a massive gap in the market for a top of the range fish and chip restaurant, gourmet burger place and who knows what else.

And in the mean time get yourself down to Malton Monthly Food Market which runs on Saturday, July 10, with Dan graham and Rafi’s Spice box cooking live and Paul Nicholson doing a butchery demonstration. Malton’s cooking.