One of the island’s most established Italian restaurants is up for sale.

Tio Pepe in Southampton is closing after 32 years —  the latest victim of the economic downturn. 

“Business is slow,” said manager John Bires. “It’s been like this for two or three years now.”

However, staff are “confident” they will keep their jobs. The restaurant already has “three or four people in line” interested in buying it.

“Some of them are local, some of them are Italian or Spanish expatriates,” said Mr Bires.

He expects the sale to take place “next year”.

“The restaurant could change completely; maybe it will continue as it is; but we don’t have that information right now,” he said.

“It depends on the new owner. Maybe he will close it (to refurbish) for two to three months. But right now we don’t know who is going to buy it.”