The Italian restaurant chain Zizzi is set to open its doors in new premises in Didsbury tomorrow, Monday 23rd November. This will be the third Zizzi in Manchester, following the success of branches in Spinningfields and the Triangle, although the chain might have their work cut out in making a success of this new venture. Didsbury already has two Italian chain restaurants on Wilmslow Road: the fiercely popular Felicini, and the newer Gusto, both of which run constant offers in a bid to keep the custom flowing.
The venue itself may also be a stumbling block. By rights, the distinctive white building that will be Zizzi's new home should be a gold mine, prominently situated on the junction of Wilmslow Road and Barlow Moor Road, and with a generous capacity both upstairs and down. Despite this, recent ventures have struggled to make it work: The Clock Tower failed to compete with other, more welcoming pubs in the area, and the ill-fated Japanese restaurant Fugu was soundly ignored by virtually everyone during its short-lived tenure.
Still, good luck to Zizzi, as the building has sat empty for far too long. A sneak peek at the interior suggests a clear effort to make the restaurant feel different from its other branches - the walls are covered with paintings of birds, apparently to mark the fact that Didsbury saw the founding of the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds. There will be room for 100 diners inside and a further 60 outside, so hopefully by next summer Zizzi will have established itself as a lively presence in Didsbury Village.
Zizzi will be open from 12pm tomorrow, all being well; I won't be there, as Gusto have lured me to them instead with a free bottle of champagne to celebrate my birthday last week (the competition starts already...)
Further details available by calling 0161 434 5923 or by visiting www.zizzi.co.uk.