Yorkshire-based Indian restaurant chain Akbar's is set to expand into the Midlands, with the opening of a new outlet in Birmingham next month.
The company, which currently operates nine restaurants throughout the North of England in Leeds, Manchester, York, Sheffield and Middlesbrough, will launch the new restaurant on 24 September.
The 300-seat restaurant in Edgbaston will include a private function suite catering for up to 200 guests.
Shabir Hussain, managing director at Akbar's, said he was excited about the group's expansion into Birmingham.
"The city already has an excellent reputation for Asian cuisine so we are looking forward to offering our particular style of food and service within such a vibrant restaurant scene," he said.
Akbar's also has plans for a 300-seat restaurant in Newcastle city centre, which is scheduled to open next January 2010.
Acting on behalf of TGI Fridays, Christie + Co sold Akbar's the long leasehold on the 15,000 sq ft site - the former Liberty's nightclub and bar - off an asking price of £100,000.
Birmingham City Council recently launched a campaign to protect the famous Balti name by preventing Indian restaurants outside the city from using it.
The very first Balti dish, which is named after the pot it is cooked in, is believed to have been served in the city in the 1970s in the area now known as the "Balti Triangle".
Birmingham City Council claims that because the Balti originated in the city, it has the right to protect the name, similar to other protected goods such as the Melton Mowbray Pork Pie or Wensleydale cheese.
By Kerstin Kühn
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