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Nando’s opening in Chester before Christmas

CHESTER is to welcome restaurant chain Nando’s shortly before Christmas.

A three-month programme of work is under way to convert the former Italian delicatessen Olio and Farina into a Nando’s which is known for its spicy chicken range.

The restaurant will be a welcome addition to that end of Bridge Street which has seen the recent closure of Johnson’s dry cleaners and Past Times.

A document accompanying the planning application approved earlier this year explains that Nando’s will cater for up to 102 customers with maximum opening hours from 10am to 11pm seven days a week, with no food served after 10pm.

It adds: “Their concept is based upon an established quality brand and trading image and involves a dining experience aimed squarely at the tourist and family market.”

The document says the restaurant will create jobs, fill an empty unit while ensuring a listed building is brought back into economic use and generate footfall.

A Nando’s spokeswoman said: “At this point in time we have no updates about a new restaurant in Chester, however it’s very much on our radar.”

Former occupants Olio and Farina was a popular draw for city food lovers, offering a range of high quality Italian food and kitchenware but closed last summer after almost four years in business, leaving 10 staff members unemployed.

The owners blamed a fall in takings on highway works outside the front door funded by Cheshire West and Chester Council and Chester Renaissance following a disruptive gas pipe replacement programme the previous year.