By Ian McConnell

The landmark Di Maggio’s restaurant in Shawlands on Glasgow's south side, which has remained closed to sit-in diners following the easing of coronavirus-related restrictions, is to undergo a major refurbishment and reopen in the new year.

The diner, which marked the debut of what now bills itself as Scotland’s largest independent restaurant group when it was launched in 1985, continues to be open for takeaway.

A spokesman for The DRG, which operates the Di Maggio’s, Café Andaluz and Amarone restaurant chains and is owned and run by Mario Gizzi and Tony Conetta, explained that the Shawlands restaurant was one of the group’s smaller sites and social-distancing considerations amid the pandemic had made it more “economical” to focus on takeaway.

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He said: “It is one of our smaller restaurants and social distancing meant it was more economical to focus on takeaway there. Plans have been drawn up for a complete refit and it will be open in the new year following a significant investment.”

The DRG, which also includes the Anchor Line and Amarone brands and has 20 restaurants in total, warned in February of the coronavirus pandemic’s “catastrophic” long-term toll on the sector, while revealing at that stage that it expected to make an operating loss in the financial year to this April.

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Mario Gizzi, co-founder of The DRG, said then: “Our trading had been going well until Covid hit, but the total shutdown of the sector for month after month has taken a catastrophic toll on huge numbers of well-known and much-loved businesses, many of which will struggle ever to reopen.”

He added: “Our group is one of the most robust and well-managed hospitality operators in the country and we will do what we have to do to make it through this, but if the hit to our trading and operations is anything to go by, there will be many businesses which will simply remain shut even when the lockdown restrictions are finally lifted.”

The DRG’s turnover dropped by £4.178 million to £32.301m in the 12 months to April 2020, and operating profits more than halved to £2.184m from £5.082m. Average employee numbers fell to 817 in the year to April 2020, from 862 in the prior 12 months.