A Perth Italian restaurant is set to close for good on Christmas Eve having “tried everything” to remain open.
Vito Crolla and his wife Nicola have run Roma Ristorante since it opened in 2018.
Nicola said the first year of trading in Speygate was “fantastic”, with the restaurant a busy and exciting place to work.
But the couple have struggled since the Covid period, with a rise in cost of living and lack of footfall forcing them to call it a day.
It was also left with a £1,200 bill back in March after having a window smashed in a targeted attack.
Nicola told The Courier: “Our lease has finished and it’s time to renew it and I decided that we just couldn’t do another five years.
“The first year of having Roma was fantastic. Of course there were teething problems, like all new businesses, but we were so happy that it was a success.
Perth restaurant to close for good on Christmas Eve
“The next couple of years was the pandemic – that was just a nightmare.
“Like lots of people, we didn’t know if we were coming or going. It was up and down and very frightening times.
“We had over 400 cancellations because of the scaremongering and to be honest it hasn’t stopped.
“The rising energy bills, the rising food bills, the rising petrol costs and the rising interest rates in peoples’ mortgages – people are terrified to spend on what is now considered a luxury to go out and eat.
“In our business, we have less footfall and when people do come out they are spending far less because they have no choice.
“Meanwhile our utilities have gone through the roof, including the rates, stock and wages so the maths is not making sense anymore.
“I think you would struggle to find a restaurant in Perth, maybe Scotland, that is thriving like it did and there is no help.
“It’s not our fault or the customers’. We have tried everything – from deals on Just Eat, social media, website deals and if you phone in – the list is endless.”
Owner ‘exhausted’ at stress of running Roma Ristorante
Nicola said her husband Vito is “exhausted” due to the demands of running the restaurant.
“He [Vito] has given his heart and soul to Perth for five years,” Nicola continued.
“His young children don’t see him – it’s not healthy for any of us anymore.
“Vito has been in the restaurant game all his life. It is not what it was and all the other restauranteurs are saying exactly the same.
“I don’t think it will ever be the same. People don’t go out like they used to, they are more than happy to sit in their house and it’s sad times.
“It was me that has called it a day – if the numbers don’t add up it’s not happening, especially with the effort that Vito is putting in.
“I don’t think he could have gone on much longer and I want to keep him healthy.”
Nicola has confirmed that the restaurant will shut on Sunday – Christmas Eve – adding that they have not received any bookings for the entire Christmas period.
She added that they have been the “victim of circumstances”.
She said: “I am very grateful to all the loyal customers we have had but we have been the victim of circumstances.
“We tried our hardest.”