The Cona hopes to benefit from its proximity to the Westfield development

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New restaurant will target growing number of young Muslim professionals

8:00am Wednesday 14th May 2014 in News By Chris Holland, Business Reporter

The Cona hopes to benefit from its proximity to the Westfield development

Ten new jobs have been created at a new Bradford restaurant focusing on European halal food Meanwhile, another local restaurant owner is celebrating a successful first year which saw him serve more than 30,000 customers.

The Cona Italian restaurant has been launched by two local Asian businessmen and self-confessed 'foodies' Oman Rana and Armi Ahmed.

Armi, 33, said they particularly want the restaurant to appeal to Bradford's growing band of young Muslim professionals who faced a restricted choice of food in non-halal restaurants.

They are also hoping that The Cona's location in East Parade, Little Germany, will benefit from its proximity to Westfield 's new shopping development.

Armi said The Cona - named after a town outside Venice - would offer high-quality seasonal food at reasonable prices. The restaurant can accommodate 40 individual diners and also be hired for special occasions.

The restaurant has been two years in the making. Staff have been recruited locally, with the kitchen team led by head chef Gavin Jackson, who has previous experience at the Michelin-starred Devonshire Arms at Bolton Abbey. He is assisted by two other chefs, six waiting staff and a kitchen porter.

Armi said: 'We are both Asian businessmen but did not want Cona to be another Indian restaurant as Bradford already has many good examples of that. Cona will offer casual fine dining at reasonable prices. We are open for every age, but are targeting the restaurant at young professionals in the area.

'All our meat is halal so, among other diners, Cona will give young professional Asian people the chance to eat quality Italian cuisine in a fine dining restaurant environment. This is a unique concept and we believe it is the only restaurant of its type in the UK.'

At lunchtime Cona offers hand-made sandwiches serving workers in local offices which employ around 1,000 people. It also offers a one-hour business lunch menu in the restaurant.

'I'm a Bradford lad and felt there was scope for a high end venue in the city, which is something that is lacking at present. We chose Little Germany as the location as we believe there is great potential through being close to the city centre where regeneration is progressing and because many people live and work round here.

'We want The Cona to be a distinguished venue which appals to many types of people from professionals to families,' said Armi, who trained in fashion at the University of Bradford before pursuing a business career in office products.

Paolo Devitori is marked the first anniversary of Rocca restaurant in Thornton Road by presenting £500 to his 30,000th customer - Allerton hair stylist Sue Chang.

He took over the former Villa Roma venue and invested around £60,000 restyling the venue.Mr Devitori , who previously ran a restaurant near Keighley, said Rocca had gone from strength -to-strength with around 60 per cent of the cleintelle being former Villa Roma regulars.

'We've had a dream year and the new venue has worked out extremely well. We've been busy all year with no quiet periods. We introduced completely new menus and head chef Lee Williamson and the whole team have done a great job,' said Paolo who started out working in his father's restaurant in Colne.

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