THESE are the first look photographs inside a new Italian restaurant which will open its doors next week.

It will be a family affair when Federico Calore opens the Marco Polo restaurant in the former Pack restaurant in Belthorn.

The 36-year-old and his staff are putting the final preparations together and he is keeping his fingers crossed they will be able to open on Monday next week.

Federico says he has been inundated with messages on social media with people wanting bookings.

He said: “It is so positive the feedback we have had on Facebook and people have been wanting to make bookings.

“We are hoping everything goes to plan in terms of giving people what they want and believe we can make it a success.

“It is going to be authentic Italian food as it is in our blood and everything will be fresh.

“We have started to work on creating some of our own pasta and there will be all kinds of meals with gluten-free and vegetarian and vegan options.

“The quality of our food will have to be 100 per cent right and on point.

“We are really happy with how the restaurant looks and people will notice a difference because it has been re-painted and had LED lighting put in to create a more modern feel and also have a new menu.”

Federico also runs Marco Polo Express takeaway in Darwen and this latest move is an expansion of his business.

He said: “We are all excited and we are just pushing to get everything right and perfect. I have to thank the staff who have all been working hard with me over the past three weeks to try to get ready.

“We want to have a safe environment for people wanting to come to eat with us. I have employed extra staff and people will be at a distance too.

“All of the staff have been tested for coronavirus and they have been negative. I just hope that everyone can come and enjoy the experience eating with us.”

The Pack, formerly known as the Pack Horse, closed suddenly in January 2019