New restaurant hopes to draw diners from far and wide

Restaurateur Pino Cafasso outside the former NatWest Bank, Hargreaves Street

Restaurateur Pino Cafasso outside the former NatWest Bank, Hargreaves Street

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The owner of a new Italian restaurant set to open in Burnley says he believes this is the start of something special in the town centre.

Restaurateur Pino Cafasso is spending nearly £1m. turning the former NatWest Bank in Grimshaw Street into an authentic Italian restaurant.

People are always talking about the Ribble Valley and coming from Burnley to eat over there. I want to bring people from the Ribble Valley here.

Pino Cafasso

The restaurant and cocktail bar, which will be named The Palazzo and boast a live pizza oven, is set to open in October and Pino, who owns The Villa in Clitheroe, is hoping it will open people’s eyes to the beauty of Burnley.

“I really hope that it will be the start of something special. I think it will be. I hope people will see this and then decide to do something similar. Burnley needs more places like this.

“The more the better. There are so many buildings like this around Burnley centre. People are blind to a lot of the buildings that are around here. Burnley is a fantastic place. This is one of the towns of the North.

“The architecture, with all its marble and stone, is stunning but it wasn’t just the building that attracted me. It was Burnley the town. The town has a fantastic history. I think people can forget about town centres. There are all these rural locations where people are talking about getting from A to B or getting taxis. In the town centre people can stop where they are for a drink, or go to a bar next to where they are, carry on the night. There should be lots of variety.”

Pino talks passionately not just about an industry he loves but also about a town he is now financially and emotionally invested in.

“People are always talking about the Ribble Valley and coming from Burnley to eat over there. I want to bring people from the Ribble Valley here. People are already talking about it. There has been a lot of interest. There will be a website soon and a full menu for everybody to see and everything is currently on track for the October opening. We’ve already taken a couple of Christmas bookings from people.

“I’m very positive. I feel very honoured to have a place like this. When I came to Burnley to have a look around, I walked around the corner and when I saw this building I just said ‘wow’. It is like something you would see in Rome. It is 150 – 200 years old and you can tell it has been built by people from a different era, people who had the time.

“I’m extrremely excited. I want to see it alive. I can’t wait.”