THE original owners of a beloved Italian restaurant have returned to restore the spot to its former glory after it shut unexpectedly last year.

La Scala, in Chorley Road, Westhoughton, closed without warning just before Christmas last year, leaving customers who had put down hundreds in table deposits out of pocket.

The company went into liquidation, owing creditors £285,767 in 2017.

Paolo Marino says he owned La Scala from 1997 to 2004 and has moved back in to resurrect the restaurant.

He says he is trying to restore its reputation as a “family-run Italian restaurant”, opening up La Scala’s doors again in March.

Mr Marino said: “I am the original owner, I had no choice but to come back — the place was shut down.

“We understand that people were disappointed with what happened.

“We would like people to know it is under new ownership and it has got nothing to do with the place before.

“There is a lot of people out there who still think we are closed.”

Now, the restaurant has been given a whole new look, including new floors, a new kitchen and a new bar, according to Mr Marino.

“We have come in and refurbished the restaurant.

“The whole place was being worked on from November to March. It looks very modern now.”

Staff are hoping that once residents know “Paolo is back in the kitchen”, old customers will return after La Scala.

Mr Marino said: “It used to be a landmark in Westhoughton. All the customers from that period are starting to come back now.

“The food is very consistent and very nice.

“We would love people to come back and give us a try again.”

Customers who had paid deposits for Christmas meals were left in the dark as La Scala closed last November, some contacted The Bolton News saying they had put as much as £185 down for a table.

A former member of staff also got in touch to say staff had been left without redundancy payments and on occasion wages were late.

Former owner Giovanni Baffa Scinelli said in the wake of the closure that he fully intended to open the restaurant throughout the Christmas period and had not taken the deposits knowing what would happen.

Mr Baffa Scinelli said he had lost more than £200,000 in three years at the restaurant.