A new town centre burger restaurant is set to open its doors by the end of November.

Scaffolding has been removed and signage is going up this weekend at the new Frankies Restaurant in Blackburn.

The £500,000 makeover of the dilapidated former Pitchers bar in Salford is close to completion.

The Batley-based owers are now recruiting 15 full time and 10 part-time staff prior to opening in time for the Christmas festive season.

The bar, which closed in December 2010 will be a branch of Frankies Burgers and Dessert Parlour, a gourmet fast food restaurant.

The building has been re-roofed and is now in the final stages of restoration with the opening date delayed from the original plan to open the new restaurant last month.

The cost of restoring and refurbishing he building has risen from original £360,000 estimate to £500,000.

Frankie's operations director Irfaan Murad said: "We now plan to open by the end of November in time for the Christmas and festive season.

"We have spent £500,000 on the project.

"This is all about getting it right for our customers.

"If we do not get the service and the menu right, the restaurant will not last very long.

"We want our new Blackburn outlet there for life.

"We have put a lot of effort into this and want to get everything just so. We're just sorting out the final bits and pieces.

"At the moment we are recruiting staff - 15 full-time and 10 part-time employees."

Blackburn with Darwen Council regeneration boss Cllr Phil Riley said: "This is a great piece of news.

"The former Pitchers bar is a prominent site in the town centre.

"This restaurant will be an important part of Blackburn's evening and night time economy."

The menu will be similar to Frankie's existing West Yorkshire outlet using 110 per cent grass-fed halal beef and halal free-range chicken.

It will also offer gluten-free, vegetarian and vegan options.

Frankie's menu also offers peri-peri chicken, healthy options, desserts and shakes.

Since its closure Pitchers had become an eyesore, blighting the regeneration of the town centre as the £5million bus station opposite and the £35m Cathedral Quarter rose around it.

After failing to reach its reserve price of £250,000 at auction in December, it was sold privately by estate agents Trevor Dawson for a value believed to be close to the highest offer of £230,000.

By Bill Jacobs