ONE of Swindon's oldest Italian restaurants now has a new owner.

Mario's in Old Town has reopened its doors after a major makeover under the management of Zues Guenaoua, who is mulling over how to celebrate its 50th year of trading in September.

He took over from Nino Coniglio in March and invested heavily in renovating the Wood Street favourite, with new lighting, new seating and tables, a spruced-up bar area, cleaned floors and walls, a new heating and air con system, a more spacious layout, a chandelier at the entrance, and a new menu. 

The 53-year-old has lived in Swindon since 1996 and been managing restaurants since 2009, starting with Da Vinci on Faringdon Road, then setting up Piazza Fontana in Cirencester for 16 months before overseeing another restaurant in Faringdon between 2014 and 2020.

During the pandemic, he got chatting with the former owners of Mario's and ended up making a deal to buy it from them.

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Zues said: "Now I'm back working in Swindon, where I belong, and looking for a new challenge. I have a lease for 25 years so I'm here for the long haul.

"It's in a great location. I always associate Old Town with good times and good friends.

"The old owners had been here for a long time and achieved a lot but felt it was time to step back, they were very supportive.

"Getting everything ready was hard work, I wanted to make it more inviting, repaint the alley outside, get rid of the damp, and add something excellent - like the chandelier,

"It's been going well so far, the reaction has been positive, we've had birthaday parties and hen nights. People seem very happy and impressed by what I've done with the place, they say 'Wow!' when they come in.

"We have two really good Italian chefs here who use great ingredients and do things properly."

The existing chef has been retained and joined by a new colleague to work on a revamped menu and specials.

Among the starters, Zues likes the tris di bruschetta, the beef fillet carpaccio, the mushrooms with gorgonzola, and the king prawns with white wine, garlic and chilli with a touch of tumeric and tarragon.

Out of the mains, he picks the tagliatelle alla norcina with sausages, porcini mushrooms and truffles, then panckes and fresh olives for dessert.

Visit or call 01793 531556.

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