A BUSY Italian restaurant is up for sale at £215,000 after its owner “made the difficult choice” to sell up after a period of ill health.

Experienced restaurateur Giorgio De Benedetto opened Eatalia, on Thorpe Bay Broadway, in 2018 and it has proven popular with residents and visitors.

Mr De Benedetto’s 25-year lease on the restaurant, which is close to the train station, is now being sold by estate agent Dedman Gray.

Gerard Biagioni, from Dedman Gray, described Mr De Benedetto as “a lifelong caterer”.

He said: “The owner has worked in the restaurant industry for many years, but a period of ill health has forced him to make the difficult decision to pass the business on.

“He took the lease on and developed a successful restaurant. He had planned to be there a lot longer, but a period of ill health means he isn’t able to, unfortunately.

“The next owner will be working from a solid foundation. Eatalia has a good social media presence, with nice outside seating for the spring and summer.

“Whenever you walk down the Broadway, it’s always busy.”

Echo: Inside - the restaurant seats 40 diners.Inside - the restaurant seats 40 diners. (Image: Dedman Gray)

Next month, Eatalia will celebrate six years in business.

It currently employs 15 members of staff, who cater for 40 diners in the restaurant at a time.

There is seating for up to another 20 diners “al-fresco” outside the front of the restaurant, facing the Broadway.

Mr Biagioni says the restaurant could help forge a new “night life” in Thorpe Bay if its new owners decide to stay open later into the evening.

He said: “I believe there’s a lot of potential for it to be open beyond 9.30pm, as it currently is.

“The Broadway can be a little quiet at night. But as they say, if you build it, they will come.

Echo: Counter - the restaurant is open in the daytime and up to 9.30pm in the evening.Counter - the restaurant is open in the daytime and up to 9.30pm in the evening. (Image: Dedman Gray)

“It’s surrounded by people living in valuable houses, who want entertainment at night. Eatalia would benefit from that.

“Residents don’t need to stray away to Southend. They can have a meal and a drink and not have to worry about how they’re going to get home.”

Before being transformed into an Italian restaurant in 2018, the building was previously home to Breadwinners bakery.