A POPULAR burger chain is coming to Basildon’s Festival Leisure Park as work begins on a new restaurant and takeaway.

Five Guys, an American-style diner, has proved popular in the UK since it first crossed the pond in 2013.

Now, the chain has applied for a licence to open at an empty unit in Festival Leisure Park, replacing the former Villagio restaurant.

A refurbishment appeared to be taking place at the site yesterday, with numerous workers inside the now-vacant restaurant.

Bosses hope the restaurant will open in “early summer”.

New jobs at Five Guys are being advertised online and a LinkedIn page for the restaurant at the leisure park has been set up.

Other Five Guys restaurants have opened at Lakeside Shopping Centre and in Chelmsford in recent years.

Tina Knight, 41, from Basildon, said: “I think it sounds great and we will be taking the family for a nice meal there.

“It’s good to see the new investment at the park and for Basildon too. We don’t have anything like this in our area at all. I can see it being very popular and lots of families being very happy about this coming to the borough.”

She said it will also offer something different to the other restaurants at the leisure park.

A father-of-three, aged 35, from Wickford, said: “Our family loves Five Guys so we are all very pleased about it opening.

“I like how the leisure park has changed into somewhere which is more family orientated, I think it’s been a good move for it.”

He said lots of others will be excited and looking to book a meal at the restaurant as soon as it opens. He added: “The food is great quality, reasonable in price and is a step higher than similar businesses.”

Festival Leisure Park is also home to Cineworld, Nando’s, Unit 7 and many more businesses.

Matthew Chambers, manager at the park, said: “It’s great news that we will have Five Guys joining us at Festival Leisure Park early summer. The famous burger brand is another great addition to the park and adds to the strong food offering that we have on site. I’m sure many people will look forward to going to a Five Guys followed by the latest release at Cineworld, I know I will.”

Five Guys was contacted for comment.