Cielo Italian, one of the Midlands top Italian restaurants, plans to say ‘ciao di nuovo’, or ‘hello again’, to customers as it reopens next week after an absence of seven months.
The award-winning venue in Oozells Square, off Brindley Place, will welcome diners back on Wednesday 14 October with full safety measures in place.
Cielo Italian has been closed since March 22 when coronavirus lockdown began.
It was not in a position to reopen in July when COVID restrictions eased after being unable to access government financial support other than the job furlough scheme.
The restaurant has been recruiting new staff in preparation for 14 October when it will initially reopening five days a week with a select menu.
Ahead of its long-awaited reopening, Cielo Italian has introduced various safety measures to comply with safety guidelines, including spacing out tables, contact and trace, and providing hand sanitiser.
Seating numbers have been reduced to between 80 and 100, including a covered outside area.
Restaurant owner, Chris Papachristoforou, said: “The last few months have been terrible because there are that many people who have been ringing us to see when we will be open, but it hasn’t been down to me.
“We were above the £51,000 rateable value threshold so didn’t qualify for government grants. We haven’t had one penny of government support apart from the furlough scheme for staff.
“A number of people have left while we’ve been closed, some have gone back to their home country and some have found other jobs.
“We’ve been interviewing new staff. At the moment we have six or seven full-time staff but will need to take on more.”
Cielo Italian will be open from Wednesday to Sunday, from 4pm to 10pm on Wednesday and Thursday, 12 noon to 10pm on Friday and Saturday, and 12 noon to 8pm on Sunday.
Discount deals are available, including 20 per cent off food only on Wednesday, and a similar deal for NHS staff on Thursdays.
There will also be a Prosecco brunch from 12 noon to 4pm on Saturday, with a three-course meal and unlimited bubbly for a maximum of two hours.
Chris added: “We are looking forward to reopening and hope that previous customers as well as new diners will come and experience the quality meals and presentation that we offer.”
Westside BID general manager Mike Olley said: “We are delighted that Cielo Italian is reopening and will shortly be taking its place back among the top quality restaurants available within the Broad Street area.
“It is another indication that the hospitality industry is continuing to emerge within the Westside BID area despite these very challenging times.”
For more information about Cielo Italian, including making a booking, visit https://www.cielobirmingham.co.uk/booking/
By Tony Collins