THREE of Glasgow’s most popular Italian restaurants have been bought by a hospitality giant.

The DRG, owner of Di Maggio’s, Café Andaluz and Amarone chains, has now bought Glasgow’s two Paesano Pizza restaurants as well as Sugo Pasta, The Herald revealed.

The deal is understood to have been worth an eight-figure sum, with DRG committing to expanding both brands.

The outlets, which employ around 230 people collectively, were previously owned by restaurateur Paul Stevenson, who said: “I have had numerous approaches over the years from a wide variety of potential purchasers, including private equity groups and other big restaurant chains.

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“However, having known the guys from The DRG for more than two decades, it very quickly became clear that they were a perfect fit to take Paesano and Sugo to the next stage of their growth.

“Paesano and Sugo have absolutely exceeded any expectations we had of them when we first launched the business almost a decade ago.

“After visiting Italy and tasting the phenomenally high-quality of authentic Neapolitan pizzas, I decided to introduce that concept to Scotland, focusing religiously on the provenance of the product and authentic, regional Italian recipes.

“At heart, it is a very simple offering but the quality of the produce and ingredients that we use, together with the craftsmanship of experienced Neapolitan chefs, has proved a phenomenal combination.

“We currently serve around 22,000 people a week across the three restaurants and I’m really looking forward to seeing how Tony and Mario expand the business, while preserving everything that’s made Sugo and Paesano so special.”

The DRG is owned by Mario Gizzi and Tony Conetta.

Gizzi said: “In our discussions with Paul, it quickly became clear that we shared a clear vision of bringing the Paesano and Sugo experience to more locations.

“We have shown repeatedly that we have the ability to take exciting restaurant concepts and expand them in a planned and successful manner, and it is going to be really exciting to do the same for Paesano and Sugo. They are brilliant brands - everything from the signage to the interiors, and particularly the food, is absolutely perfect.”

Conetta added: “We have watched with admiration how Paul has built the restaurants into powerhouse brands in a hugely competitive market and are really pleased that he will remain on board as a consultant as we develop our plans to roll out Paesano and Sugo more widely.”