THE owner of an traditional Italian restaurant in Urmston has invested more than £75k to create a new outside dining experience for his customers.

Zola Martini runs Mulino on Primrose Avenue in the town and despite difficult times the 46-year-old took the opportunity to create an extension which caters for social distancing.

Among the changes include a retractable roof on the outside areas which when they open fully in May then they can do 48 tables.

So far Zola says it has paid off creating the outside area so they could open their doors to serve the community.

He said: "Things have been going good and we have a safe environment from Covid as it is fresh air coming in.

"People have been happy to come back and it has been such a long time since we had people coming in to eat and serve.

"I have been in this business (industry) for 26 years since I started as a waiter in Manchester and it is what I do - serving customers, and working with them."

Zola added that customers still love their traditional Italian cuisine with roots in Sicily and 40-50 per cent of the food is from there.

"It has been great to open early with the new outdoor eating area and we hope we can be doing it for a long time.

"We have invested a lot of money into the roof and the new windows slide open which is good in the hot weather but can be closed too.

"We have brought tables and chairs outside to make it nice and comfortable and we are really happy with how it has gone."

Zola says that Urmston has become like home to him and during lockdown they worked with the freemasons locally to provide food for local families in need and cooking meals and they continued to be busy during the lockdowns with their takeaway service.

He added: "We are hoping to have many more good years ahead of us here and carrying on what we do.

"We have got a wood fire oven and people really love our food including our Italian Tapas, pizzas and pastas.

"We have got good comments during lockdown with people still having our takeaway menu.

"We were doing 200 pizzas a day during the first and second lockdowns.

"I was working 14-15 hours a day to serve the community and we got the help from the Government with their grants.

"I could not stay at home as I wanted to serve the community and we had such big demands."

Zola also runs a restaurant on Deansgate in Manchester and another one in East Lancashire at Ninos in Rawtenstall.