BOLTON'S reputation as a food and drink destination has grown in recent years ­— and the Eat Out Help Out scheme is giving people a chance to sample the vast array of good food on offer.

Group executive chef of the Retreat Restaurants Gareth Mason says the scheme has brought in new diners.

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(Gareth Mason)

Under the Eat Out Help Out scheme, every Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday this month participating restaurants will offer 50 per cent off food and non-alcoholic drinks up to a total value of £10 per person ­— and there is no minimum spend.

Retreat has three restaurants, Heaton, Bromley Cross and Adlington.

Gareth said: "The Retreat Restaurants were all doing really well before the scheme was introduced.

"This scheme is to help the hospitality industry and we are seeing people who don't necessarily eat out and those who would go to big chain restaurants. It is also encouraging people to eat locally, rather than getting on a train to go to Manchester where they think they will get better a restaurant experience.

"I hope this expands their minds and they see what is available on locally.

"We use locally sourced produce, meat from a place just on the border on Cumbria and fruit and veg from the Ribble Valley."

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(Delights at Retreat)

Gareth, who said he really pleased with takings since lockdown measures were eased allowing restaurants to open, stressed safety measures were in place for staff and customers, including disposal menus.

"It was a relief for people to be able to come out to eat, no one likes being caged and the feedback we have received has been really positive," he said.

Business is also booming at popular town centre restaurant Ciao Napoli, which is make plans for the future after a long period of lockdown, including expanding the menu, special offers.

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(Ciao Napoli)

Mouloud Allaoui from the restaurant said: "We have been so busy.It has been a very good scheme with our customers being so supportive when we reopened and now with the scheme we are seeing new faces."

Find which places are taking part in the scheme here