One of Scotland’s largest independent hospitality groups has revealed plans for new restaurant openings - targeting its first-ever move into London as well as another venue in Newcastle.

Mario Gizzi, co-founder of Di Maggio’s owner DRG, revealed today that the group is exploring locations for a first venue in the UK’s capital.

He flagged the possibility of acquiring an existing restaurant business as part of DRG’s expansion plans.

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Mr Gizzi declared DRG is “actively looking” at potential sites for a second Cafe Andaluz in Newcastle, after opening its Grey Street restaurant in the city in 2021.

The Glasgow-based restaurant group also revealed it had enjoyed its busiest December since 2019.

DRG opened a third Café Andaluz in Edinburgh in November last year, with this new venue in upmarket Stockbridge said by the group to be “proving a big hit in the neighbourhood”.

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The group said: “Almost 20,000 people have already visited the restaurant since it opened, making it one of the brand’s most successful new openings to date.”

DRG said combined sales across its 17 venues last month were up 10% on the same month of 2022.

Mr Gizzi, who founded DRG in Glasgow with his uncle Joe Conetta in 1985, said: “The reception to the Stockbridge Cafe Andaluz has been exceptional and is exactly why we chose that location. It’s another pillar in the progression of the business, and we have plans to grow the brand further.”

He declared that DRG had “a strong portfolio of brands across a broad range of sectors and food types”.

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Mr Gizzi said: “Our plans are about growing what we have. We are actively looking at a site for a second Cafe Andaluz in Newcastle, and beyond that we intend to take the brand and potentially other restaurants into London as well.

“We are researching suitable locations, and that includes the potential acquisition of other restaurant businesses with a view to converting sites into one of our existing brands if the opportunity is right. We’ve been in business for 40 years because we take a responsible and measured approach to growth, only moving when the opportunity is right for the business, and that will continue to be fundamental to our approach.”

Gizzi, who trained as a chartered accountant in the 1980s, owns and runs DRG with cousin Tony Conetta.