AN award-winning restauranteur is moving out of Sunderland city centre, claiming the area has become increasingly undesirable.
Amore in Tavistock Place, will close next Sunday after a 50 per cent drop in trade.
Nedhi and Kam Chera, who run the Italian restaurant, say the closure of the nearby council car park to make way for Software Centre has drastically affected business.
Mr Chera said: “Since the closure of the 200-spaced car park three years ago, which has been replaced with a white elephant, we’ve had a 50 per cent loss in footfall and trade to the restaurant.
“There’s also an issue of safety. We’ve had numerous break-ins here and our staff and customers have been attacked after leaving the restaurant. The area is becoming increasingly run-down.”
Amore, which opened in the city centre seven years ago, will re-open on November 5 on the first floor of the Harbour View Pub in Roker.
Only last week, the Amore Group, which also owns Amore 2 in Ashbrooke and Cafe Amore in Holmeside, was named as Best Leisure Business in the Echo’s Portfolio Awards.
Mr Chera added: “This has been an extremely painful and emotional decision to make, but we believe it is best for the business. We have been offered places in Newcastle with good rates but we want to stay in Sunderland. We live here and we’ve made some great friends and loyal customers here. Everything will be the same, except the location.”
Amore will keep the Tavistock Place site as a function room.