BROMSGROVE is to get a jobs boost with the expansion of a pizza restaurant to create a bar and eaterie.

Ben Ascott and his wife Vicky have taken on the former gym, which will operate as Ascott’s@Fuso, sharing kitchen and front-of-house staff with their Fuso Italian restaurant next door.

It gives the couple the large corner site at New Road, Aston Fields, and will see them hiring another 15 staff to work alongside their existing 15-strong team at Fuso.

The popularity of the Italian restaurant, with its own wood-fired pizza oven, had seen them having to limit customers to a two-hour stay because of the restricted space, but the expansion will almost double the number of customers they can serve.

Ben Ascott said: “Now we will be able to offer a wide range of home cooked ‘street food’ and comfort dishes from around the world at Ascott’s as an alternative.

“It will also mean customers from Fuso will be able to come next door for an after-dinner drink.

“We will have a range of craft beers and lagers behind the bar and are currently working on pairings – matching the beers to particular dishes.

“We can cater for around 45 customers at Fuso and will be able to serve an extra 40 with the new expansion.”

Ben started his restaurant career at Pizza Hut in Bromsgrove when he was just 16, and Vicky joined him working in the industry when she left college. Working with Ben’s family, the couple ran a fish and chip shop for a decade at Lickey Hills as well as a pizzeria.

They opened Fuso in December 2017, “but we always had an eye on the corner premises,” said Ben.

Property agents John Truslove played a major role in the conversion of the gym to a new restaurant.

Ben Truslove, joint managing director of John Truslove, said: “We are delighted that we have been able to help a thriving restaurant business move to the next level.

“Ben and Vicky are experienced restaurateurs who clearly understand their market and know how to keep their customers happy.

"This will be a bright addition to the restaurant scene in Bromsgrove, adding to the attraction of the town.”