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Giorgio Locatelli pulls out of London restaurant venture

10 August 2006

Giorgio Locatelli has pulled out of a deal to run the food and beverage operation at a hotel and restaurant in London.

The chef-proprietor of Locanda Locatelli restaurant in London W1 was due to go into the kitchen at the former York and Albany pub near Regent's Park, but changed his mind last week, blaming poor footfall and building restrictions at the Grade II-listed site. He said: "It's a fantastic place but English Heritage told us we couldn't change the doors or fittings. This is a difficult enough business already without limitations."

The property, which has stood derelict for 25 years, was bought by TV actor Gary Love for £2m in March. It's understood he will spend £3.5m transforming the site into a 10-bedroom boutique hotel, restaurant and delicatessen.

The pair had been in talks for two months and Love, who has appeared in Grange Hill and London's Burning, planned to sell Locatelli the 900-year leasehold.

Locatelli said he was still looking for another property. "We're looking at opening a deli business, although there's no site on the table yet," he said.

60-secod profile: Giorgio Locatelli >>

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