CHICKEN giant Nando’s has been revealed as the flagship restaurant of the £14 million redevelopment of the Market Place.

The world-famous South African eaterie will open a restaurant in the newly refurbished Victorian vaults at the shopping centre next year.

9 things you need to know before you go for a cheeky Nando's

The Bolton News can also reveal that popular Italian chain Prezzo has applied to take up another of the units in the vaults.

Both businesses are expected to open their doors on March 18 — the same date that the nine-screen cinema will now begin showing films.

Details of more eateries are set to be revealed in the coming weeks. 

Market Place manager Nikki Wilson-Cook said she was “delighted” to be welcoming big-name restaurants to the centre.

She said: “We can confirm that both Nando’s and Prezzo have applied for licences to move into the Market Place vaults.

“We are delighted, it doesn’t get much bigger than Nando’s and importantly it is a restaurant that covers all walks of life — including families, young people, students as well as different communities in Bolton — it ticks all the boxes.

“We were really keen to get Nando’s in and it has taken quite a lot of work and negotiation, but we are really pleased.

“Prezzo is a restaurant with a really nice atmosphere and environment — it is contemporary food that is also very good value for money, so we are really pleased with that as well.”

She added: “I can’t speak for the people of Bolton but I really hope these restaurants will go down well locally.”

There is also good news for beer lovers after it was confirmed that the Great Ale Year Round 'mini-pub' — based at Bolton Market — will also have a stall based in the historic vaults.

The vaults have been meticulously refurbished as part of a £14 million regeneration project by the Moorgarth Group, which owns the shopping centre.

The scheme also involves the creation of a new cinema as well as work to revitalise the main shopping area.

It had originally been thought that the cinema would open ahead of the restaurant venues — in December this year — but a decision has now been taken to launch the whole complex as one next March.

Mrs Wilson-Cook added: “Rather than opening things piecemeal, we have decided to now aim to open the whole complex just before Easter.

“That way, we can open all nine screens of the cinema and the bars and restaurants at the same time and people can experience the whole thing.”

The news of the proposed arrival of the big-name restaurants has gone down well with town centre shoppers.

Stephen Gandy, aged 21, is from Swinton and travels in to Bolton regularly.

He said: “I really like Nando’s, it is really nice and there is no messing around, you know you are getting some nice chicken.

“I live in Swinton so currently would have to go to the Trafford Centre or maybe the Middlebrook to go to a Nando’s, so I would definitely welcome one in Bolton town centre and I will certainly be paying a visit when it opens.”

The Prezzo option is something that excited 72-year-old Alice Ellis from Egerton.

She said: “A nice restaurant is something that is really lacking in the town centre, we are desperately short of one.”

“I would definitely come into Bolton for this and I think it would be a really nice idea to come and have lunch and then go and see a film at the new cinema.”

Bolton Council leader Cliff Morris said it was essential to get an “anchor tenant” like Nando's in place.

He said: “Once you get that key anchor tenant in place, it helps to attract other people into the town centre.

“People will come to these restaurants from all over — this really is good news for Bolton, we want to get that buzz in the town centre.”

Cllr Morris said he had not been to Nando’s before but was “looking forward to giving it a try.”