BUSINESS partners Thanasis Spinoulas and Giovanni Caggianelli have spent more than £100,000 transforming the former Pastarazzi venue into Mediterranean bar and restaurant Convivio.
Thanasis, who is Greek, and Giovanni, who is Italian, have been in the catering trade for years, but this is the first time they have set up their own venture after buying the company.
Newcastle striker Michael Owen has already sampled what the restaurant has to offer after dining there in the last few days.
Set in refurbished 19th century premises in Grosvenor Street, the restaurant includes a Champagne and cocktail bar upstairs.
Thanasis, who lives in Hoole, said: “I have been working in the catering industry since I learned to walk. My business partner is the same.
“We have been general managers of hotels and restaurants in the past and now we have decided to go solo and provide what we always thought should be offered, which is good hospitality and good, fresh food.”
Among the biggest investments is the £15,000 Italian stone oven.
Thanasis is optimistic about the future despite the economic downturn.
“It’s a worry for everybody but we believe there is a market out there for people interested in fresh food.”
He says many restaurants buy in ready-made food and the customer is unaware it has not been prepared on the premises.
“What lots of other restaurants do is they project an image which completely different to what they do,” added Thanasis.
For more information, visit www.conviviochester.co.uk.