POPULAR Italian restaurant Pasta Di Piazza Italiana is set to expand its Newcastle and Stone restaurants.
Both expansion projects are still in the early stages with planning approvals pending. It is hoped work can begin on the Newcastle High Street site as soon as possible, followed by work at the Stone restaurant.
The expansion work will be carried out by Staffordshire firm DV Architects Limited, which completed refurbishment at both sites last year, and will see the Stone restaurant expand into the former Acapella clothes shop and Newcastle expand into the former Chryalis Wealth Management building.
Business owner Jigar Gheewala, said the expansion represented an investment of more than £250,000 in the business, and was a fantastic opportunity which would greatly benefit its customers and the communities they serve.
He said: “It’s early stages, but I’m hopeful the expansion will allow us to increase the number of covers at both restaurants by around 80, which will make a tremendous difference at our busiest times.
“We’ve got to the stage now where we really need more capacity at weekends, so that was the key reason I decided to make this further investment.
“We’ve already had our architects on site, so if everything goes to plan I would hope our Newcastle restaurant could be complete in around four months, while the Stone project should take around six to eight months.
“But we’ll remain open for business as usual though while this work is carried out.”
Restaurant general manager, Nass Hamza, said he expected to employ eight additional part time staff across both sites, and that he was excited about the possibilities the extra space brings to both restaurants.
He said: “Our expansion is wonderful news for our customers as it will make a significant improvement to what we can offer them, from increased flexibility in booking times to providing a private room for parties or weddings, and additional space for our popular Christmas lunch bookings.
“It means we can also review the use of our current space to make it work really hard, so we can also look at providing a reception area for customers where they can sit and wait, have a drink and order before being seated.
“Attracting people to both Newcastle and Stone High Street is also good for local businesses as a whole, and I’m confident our loyal regular customers will enjoy the changes we’re going to make.
“It’s a long term investment, but it’s one which had to be made and now is the right time for us as a business and for our customers, who I’d like to thank for their continued support.”
Antonio Da Silva, manager at Pasta di Piazza Italiana Stone said the expansion of both sites will make a significant impact on the service they are able to offer.
He said: “This is essential in Stone, particularly during the summer when we attract a lot of walk-in customers who are walking or cruising along the canal.”
He added that the expansion will give the Stone restaurant a very different look outside as well as inside, doubling the frontage of the existing building.
“Things really have been going from strength to strength for us so this is the next stage, which will improve our customer experience and help to support local jobs.”
Christine Wright, manager at Pasta di Piazza Italiana Newcastle, said: “In Newcastle there has been a lot of new investment in student accommodation and other building around the town, so it feels like this is definitely the right time for us to expand as I can only see us growing busier and it’s a very positive sign for this area.”