A WINCHESTER institution looks set to close, as a new business has been granted permission to take the next step to open.

Tom’s Deli on St George's Street has been running for more than 30 years and early last year the businesses went on the market.

Owner Tom Romita is looking to retire, and the premises looks to have been bought by a Greek café/diner.

Marshall Eaton Holdings has been granted permission to install an extraction system at the restaurant. Its food operation is understood to trade as Yiayias Kitchen, which currently has an eatery in Farnham.

READ MORE HERE: Tom's Deli placed on the market

The application form states: “The existing owner cooks food on the premises (an Italian deli/café) within the kitchen area to the rear of the building. He operates this kitchen with a simple extraction system and often needs to leave the door open to allow for ventilation.

“The new owner wishes to invest in the kitchen set up and improve the ventilation for staff and customers.

Tom Romita

Tom Romita

“The new owner will run a Greek café and is not seeking to intensify the use of the building. The type of food that will be cooked will not be dissimilar to the food currently being cooked at the site and will include traditional Greek recipes.”

It understood that the business hopes to sign the lease early this year.

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Tom opened the business as a newsagent in the late 1980s before gradually converting it into a delicatessen using his family links with the Puglia region in southern Italy.

He previously said in a statement: "Tom's Deli is a much-loved Italian eatery in the heart and soul of Winchester. After 30 years, owner Tom Romita is now looking to hand the reins over while he looks to retire.

"Tom and his wife Hiromi hope to travel to both of their hometowns: Bisceglie in Puglia and to Japan, where Hiromi hails from.

"Tom's son Yuichi is also studying in Japan to become a master potter so there are many reasons why Tom wants to see more of the world.

"But first, Tom is keen to work with the new owner to ensure a smooth transition and plans to be around for some time.”

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Kimberley Barber