Bottelinos restaurant in Nailsea restaurant has been sold to a new operator.
The restaurant, in Link Road, has been bought by Bristol-based Pietro and Teresa Tallo, owners of the city’s Europa Italian restaurant.
Bottelinos closed on Monday but is due to reopen in a few weeks under the Tallo’s ownership.
A spokesman for Bottelinos boss Michael Botta confirmed it had sold the Nailsea restaurant to another Italian restaurant business based in Bristol.
Nailsea manager Guiseppe Esposito said: “It gave me a big shock after 15 years but I would like to thank all our loyal customers and look forward to welcoming them back later this month.”
Two of the nine staff – a pizza chef and barmaid – are being re-deployed to the Portishead branch of Bottelinos, which opened in August 2010 at Port Marine.
The remaining seven workers are due to meet the new bosses on this week but have been given assurances that their jobs are safe. Mr Esposito said he expected the Link Road restaurant to reopen in two to three weeks with some cosmetic changes under a new name and with a new menu.
Rumours of closure had been circulating in Nailsea for the past six months.
Speculation had been rife on Facebook in September that the award-winning town centre restaurant which opened in 1997, was for sale.
It got to the point where the management of the Nailsea branch put a notice on the door saying “we are still open”.
There are a growing number of food outlets in Nailsea and competition is fierce especially since the opening of Wetherspoons and the revamping of the Royal Oak pub.
However, Bottelinos’ customer base has stayed loyal. After 25 years in business and despite a thriving lunchtime trade the nearby Courtyard wine bar closed in April.
Further along the High Street the Queen’s Head’s new landlady Sally Plummer announced this month the pub was no longer serving food and Cafe 119, at Station Road, is on the market with West Coast estate agents.
There are more than 20 bakeries, cafes, pubs, restaurants, supermarkets and takeaways in the town centre selling hot food.
The Europa at St Stephen’s Street, Bristol, is one of the last family run independent restaurants and has been owned for the past 22 years by Mr and Mrs Tallo.
Bottelinos has branches at Bedminster, Emersons Green, Portishead, Swindon and Weston-super-Mare and these are not affected by the sale.