AN Italian restaurant is set to become the latest addition to Ramsbottom’s flourishing food and drink scene.

Tre Ciccio has been earmarked to open in the former site of Ramsons and The Venetian Hideaway in Market Place later this year.

Having opened an eatery in Altrincham in February, which has already proved to be a hit among diners, its owners say they are hoping to replicate their success in Ramsbottom.

The plans for the site involve an extensive refurbishment in order to take the building back to its original design, as well as bringing its terrace into use to give it a ‘warm and stripped back’ look.

It is hoped that the restaurant will be ready to open its doors to the public by the autumn.

The name Tre Ciccio translates as ‘three chubby friends’, according to one of its owners Alan Ritchie. Mr Ritchie, who lives in Ramsbottom, said: “I would like to think the local residents will be supportive of this because we are experienced operators.

“We have got a sizeable budget because we want to take the building back to how it was originally.

“I have lived here since 1988 so I am well versed with the food scene. I think there is a gap in the market for us. We are all passionate about food and have got a proven track record.”

Mr Ritchie previously worked as the head of estate operations at International Restaurants, which owns Piccolino and Restaurant Bar & Grill, before setting up Tre Ciccio with friends James Gingell and Francesco Scafuri.

Collectively, the trio have more than 100 years of experience in the industry, and say their latest venture will aim to ‘embrace the local community by providing a memorable dining experience with great food and warm Italian hospitality’.

They say the key to the project’s success will be ‘the warmth of the building and the simplicity of the food’.

The main menu is expected to have a similar focus to that of their Altrincham restaurant, which serves authentic dishes from the Campania region in southern Italy, accompanied by seasonal twists.

Tre Ciccio’s owners will be hopeful that they can revive the building’s famous food legacy. After being opened in 1985 by Chris Johnson and his wife Ros, Ramsons established itself as one of the North West’s leading restaurants, and went on to scoop numerous awards, including the Good Food Guide Readers’ Restaurant of the Year in 2007.

It eventually became The Venetian Hideaway in 2014, but was forced to shut after sustaining severe fire damage two years later.

The building has stood empty ever since.