A major town centre restaurant has been re-launched with new owners at the helm.

The 250-seater East Z East opened at the former Blakey’s Bar Cafe, King George’s Hall, in 2018. It was closed in March due to the lockdown but has now re-opened for eat in and take-outs.

As well as new dishes on the menu and revealing a range of offers, the restaurant will no longer be serving alcohol. The restaurant will have prayer areas too.

Manager Imtiaz Ahmed said: “We have managed to keep some of the East Z East chefs and the quality of the food is still there.

“We are adding some variations of the lamb dishes and some new exciting dishes.

“Making it a non-alcohol restaurant was something that was important to us. There is a lovely pub across the road if people want to drink and there is a nice bistro and bar just up the road.

“We are now going to be a nice fine-dining experience for families.”

When the restaurant opened, the interior was completely renovated at a cost of £350,000 and featured a daytime café and private dining room. The open plan area includes 11 booths, that can each fit between six and eight people.

Imtiaz said new Covid-19 regulations were in place and, due to the size of the restaurant and the placement of the booths, social distancing measures were possible with only fine adjustments.

He said: “We were advised to lose just four or five tables which for us means we still have a lot of space for diners to sit in isolation. There is a one-way system in place and extra space around what was the bar area.”

The roadworks around King George’s Hall had affected trade and with those now complete Imtiaz feels the restaurant can be another focal point for Northgate.

He said: “The roadworks destroyed us. But the negatives won’t get us anywhere now. Blackburn with Darwen Council has invested a lot in the area and we all have to be positive. The atmosphere is completely different in the restaurant and we hope diners will see this when they come.

“You have a beautiful restaurant in your town centre and I always want local people to support their community. We are all here to make Blackburn a better experience for everyone.”

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Imtiaz said it was important for businesses like his to support those less fortunate. He said: “I am Blackburn born and bred. We have recently made a donation to the Blackburn Food Bank and supporting the local community in this way is something the team are passionate about.

“Every month we are going to go to Blackburn Food Bank and donate goods. I don’t think anyone in our community should go hungry.

“If every business gives back in this way it will all be better for our town.

“Just recently, we sent some waiters out to some homeless people with food we had which may have gone to waste.

“I am animal lover myself and own some cats and have also endorsed an animal charity.”

The restaurant is presently running a 25 per cent discount on all food Mondays through to Wednesdays.