AN AWARD-winning Newport restaurant is still open for business, its owner insists, after the Argus reported they plan to sell the business.

Despite the plans, Chez Giovanni on Clarence Place is still open to customers Wednesday to Saturday, said owner Brian Lloyd, who has run the business with wife Christine for 13 years.

"We have spoken to around 20 or 30 people lately who have said how sorry they are that we have closed, but we haven't," said Mr Lloyd. "We are offering the business for sale but we are still open."

In February the Argus reported how Mr Lloyd, 65, suffered a heart attack two years ago and the couple have decided they want to give the business up and spend more time at their home in Magor.

The Topolino’s wine bar and bistro, which is next to the restaurant and recently underwent a £85,000 refit, is also up for sale.

Chez Giovanni was first set up in 1972 by Giovanni Gulotta and his wife Anna, who were originally from Sicily.

Mr Lloyd said he and his wife, who have been married for 41 years and have three children, were the restaurant’s first ever customers.

They had a soft spot for Chez Giovanni ever since then, he said, and bought it from their friend, businessman Max Sadano, in 2001.

Mr Lloyd said the restaurant, which has won Voice Magazine’s best Italian restaurant competition for eight years running and was named Best Restaurant of the Year, has seen many famous faces over the years.

The business is up for sale for £599,999 with estate agents Preferred Commercial and also includes ten bedsits on the floors above the restaurant.