A new Italian restaurant is set to open its doors in Preston’s Guild Hall this June.
The Villa Italian will be at the front of the building, in the former Bodycare unit, and is hoped to help the complex become a hub for entertainment and leisure.
The restaurant already has a branch in Kirkham, and will now open next to Review at the front of the city venue, offering outdoor seating and dining on the first floor.
Guild Hall owner Simon Rigby said: “We want to make the Guild Hall a centre for entertainment and leisure, and we see having an Italian restaurant as an important part of the mix to give people the choice we want when they are coming to the Guild Hall or just thinking of dining.
“It’s alongside the Review in the old Bodycare, it’s got a lovely frontage onto Lancaster Road and it’s going to have a nice terrace above it.
“There’s a very nice terrace on the first floor, and you look down on the Town Hall and the Harris and the Flag Market, which is a lovely view.” Mr Rigby said he thought the new restaurant would employ about six full-time staff, with a further dozen part-time workers.
He said: “It’s going to be a fantastic Italian restaurant, and we are hoping the restaurants and shops will subsidise the theatres - we are trying to capture the secondary spend.”
He said other eateries were opening their doors in the same part of Preston, and said: “It is all fantastic and we are of the view that this is the arts and entertainment end of the city, and everything seems to be going to plan.”
Seb Salisbury, architect at Frank Whittle Partnership (FWP), said: “Following on from the opening of the Review Bar towards the end of last year we are delighted that the new Villa Italian restaurant will now complete the remodelled ground floor frontage of the Guild Hall.
“We feel that the venue now has a more modern and inviting appearance and the interior design of the Villa Italian will offer a fresh and contemporary outlook and dining experience. The restaurant is due to open in June but there are also many more schemes in the pipeline which will further transform the cultural and culinary experience of the Guild Hall.”