A LANDMARK pub is to be transformed into an Italian restaurant, lounge and bar, it has been revealed.

Ignazio Pillitteri, who owns Nino’s in Bacup Road, Rawtenstall, has bought the former Fighting Cocks pub in Red Lees Road, Cliviger, from Enterprise Inns.

Providing renovation work is completed on schedule, the new restaurant, set to be called Nino’s Cliviger, should open for business by the end of October.

It will include a 100-cover traditional Italian restaurant with private dining rooms, a bar and lounge where up to 60 people can enjoy Italian tapas, and an outside area.

A head chef will be brought from Italy, but the restaurant is likely to create up to 30 new jobs.

Most recently the building housed the Ridoy Indian restaurant and bar, but it has been empty since February last year when the tenants left unexpectedly.

Mr Pillitteri, who has owned Nino’s in Rawtenstall for more than 25 years, said his son and business partner Carmelo, 27, spotted the building while out cycling.

He said: “My son loves his bikes – he is fanatical about them. He passed this pub and mentioned that it had been closed for a while. This was about three months ago.

“My first impression was that I liked the look of the building, the location and the view, so it was good.”

The restaurant will serve similar cuisine to the family’s Rawtenstall eatery and will feature a wood-burning pizza oven.

Mr Pillitteri plans to extend part of the building to form a section with large windows overlooking the moors.

Alongside a 50-space car park, there will be a new outside area with chairs, tables, parasols and a smoking section.

There will also be live entertainment in the piano bar and restaurant, including singers and tribute artists.

Mr Pillitteri said: “It had always been my ambition to open a second restaurant. If this goes well I’m sure there will be a number three.”