A POPULAR Bradford district restaurant has been forced to close.

Italian restaurant Santoni, on Airedale Road in Keighley, will open for the final time on Saturday, August 20.

Owner Marco Di Rienzon says the closure comes due to "unsustainable increases in operational costs".

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: Santoni's has been on Airedale Road for almost six yearsSantoni's has been on Airedale Road for almost six years

Marco was carrying on the family legacy by opening up in Marley almost six years ago.

His father Toni opened the first pizza restaurant in Bradford – Pizza House in 1974, followed up by Da Tonino’s in Shipley a few years later.

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: Marco is sad to have to call it a dayMarco is sad to have to call it a day

Marco posted this lengthy statement on Santoni's Facebook page: "Unfortunately due to unsustainable increases in operational costs, and foreseeing further to come in the winter months, we have decided not to renew our lease and make the difficult decision to step back and close the restaurant.

"Our final service will be on Saturday, August 20.

"We would like the remaining time to be a celebration of Santoni and we welcome you to join us, making the most of what time we have left.

"We are so proud of what Santoni has become over the years, not only for the locals and surrounding towns, but diners making the regular effort of travelling from further afield; Skipton, Baildon, Saltaire, Ilkley, and the odd foodie coming all the way from Leeds.

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: The restaurant proved very popular amongst its customersThe restaurant proved very popular amongst its customers

"Looking back at all the hard work in building the business from nothing, the resilience in offering a more genuine menu experience, for us, it has been all about seeing people enjoying what we do and have created.

"We could not have done this without our current team of staff, and we thank them for the wonderful food and experience they have contributed. Their passion, commitment and hard work is unparalleled and it has been inspiring to be a part of. 

"We don’t know what the future holds, certainly for the hospitality industry, but we are stepping back for now to give ourselves time to evaluate and spend much-needed time with family.

He added: "We would finally like to thank you. Our wonderful customers, for the support over the years, for choosing Santoni for your family meals, and celebrations, attending many wonderful tasting events to finally takeaways during the pandemic. It’s sincerely been a pleasure. 

"We have met so many brilliant people along the way, many of you becoming regulars and friends. Hopefully, we will see you enjoying our last menu at Santoni before the final service.

"Grazie and arrivederci, Marco and everyone at Santoni."