MORE than 25 jobs are to be created as two popular restaurants set to open in a town centre.

Manchester's famous East Z East will bring its Indian, Kashmiri and Pakistani dishes to Blackburn in the new year creating around 20 new jobs.

The chain, which already has sites three sites in Greater Manchester was inspired by the heritage of the city's 'Curry Mile' when it opened more than 10 years ago.

Knuzden's David Wilcock will also be reinventing his Blackburn Market 'Hugo Burrito' stall as a new restaurant in Northgate later this month.

He is looking to bring in six new members of staff and expand to run a takeaway and evening service.

Community leaders described the two ventures as 'exciting' and 'offering something different'.

East Z East, which has restaurants in Manchester, Bury, Birmingham, Preston and Liverpool, plans to open in Blackburn in the New Year.

Owner Zahid Iqbal from Accrington will run the venture with his business partner Ashraf Hussain.

He said: "We have had a fantastic response so far.

"We have been getting a lot of phone calls asking when we'll be open and where we're going to be.

"It's great to hear people are excited about what we're doing.

"I always come into Blackburn for food after the football and end up going to the same places.

"I spotted a niche in the market for a good Indian restaurant.

"We are going to be recruiting staff from scratch.

"We will be taking on anything between 15 and 20 staff and the busier we get the more staff we will take on."

Mr Iqbal, who has yet to confirm the location of his restaurant, said he has found a niche in the market with his banquet, A'la carte and children's menus.

The first East Z East restaurant was opened in Princess Street in Manchester in 2005.

Hugo Burrito opened a year ago but after success in the market, Mr Wilcock said he wants to expand and open at the former Mercer's store opposite David Pluck bookmakers.

Mr Wilcock said: "We wanted to try out our concept at the market to see how Blackburn took to Hugo Burrito and vice versa.

"Over the first 12 months the people of Blackburn have really taken to us and embraced us and we've really enjoyed it.

"We feel the demand is there to bring Hugo to a wider audience.

"We want to carry on with what we're doing but keep expanding and get into the evening market.

"There are people around at 5pm and 6pm going to McDonald's and Costa, we want them to come for a burrito."

The restaurant will have 25 seats and a license to serve alcohol in an evening.

The restaurant will sell largely the same products as the market stall with the addition of items such as loaded fries and breakfast burritos.

On an evening, Mr Wilcock said he is looking to launch a 'tapas menu' offering a selection of Mexican dishes.

Mr Wilcock, who was the fifth generation of his family to work in Blackburn Market, is hoping to open for business on December 17.

James Lee Newton, from Blackburn's Nightlife group, said: "I am wishing both the owners plenty of success for their restaurants.

"I want to say how excited I am it will be something different for the town and its good timing with all the other new places that have opened due to the regeneration of the town.

"I am wishing the owners of Hugo Burrito plenty of success for their restaurant, it's very good to see them expanding.

"I also want to say a massive thank you to East Z East for coming into the town centre, they have had lots of success in other towns and cities."

Cllr Phil Riley, Blackburn with Darwen Council regeneration boss, said: "East Z East will be another good brand to join Blackburn.

"It is a well known brand and people seem excited about it which is positive.

"We will be pleased to welcome it to the town."

The restaurants follow other popular chains to come to Blackburn, including Turtle Bay, A Mano and Gusto.