A pilot serving up food in a former carpark?

It sounds unlikely - and maybe not that appealing - but this is no ordinary pilot, no ordinary food and no ordinary carpark.

It's a passion project soon to launch in Whanganui, with business owners Belinda Pilcher and Bryce Mason joining forces with Luis Solano to create Maria Lane.

There's quite the backstory to the new laneway eatery which looks out to Majestic Square from its home in the former National Bank carpark.

Behind the new big brown folding doors fronting Maria Pl a transformation has been happening.

Key to the project is Solano, a chef from Mexico who is now studying at New Zealand International Commercial Pilot Academy (NZICPA) in Whanganui.

It's Solano's second time living in New Zealand. After studying for a degree in hotel and restaurant management in Mexico City, Solano came here on an exchange through his university's agreement with Weltec in Wellington.


He started