A MUCH-LOVED seafront restaurant has emerged from lockdown with a new look.

Marrocco’s in King’s Esplanade, Hove, has welcomed customers indoors for the first time this year, and staff have been working around the clock to make sure the renovation was complete on time.

The family-run Italian restaurant now has a seating area at the front which owner Peter Marrocco says will allow customers to make the most of the “beautiful” sea views.

The Argus: Brother and sister Livia and Peter MarroccoBrother and sister Livia and Peter Marrocco

It also has a new menu but will continue to serve its most popular seafood dishes and its homemade, authentic Italian pizzas.

Peter told The Argus he wanted to give the restaurant a modern makeover without losing touch with its 50-year history.

He said: “We just thought we’d take the opportunity to update everything. We’ve created a new space at the front where we used to just have a bar, but now we have a perfect, sea view seating area.

The Argus: Marrocco's now has a new sea-view table at the front of the restaurantMarrocco's now has a new sea-view table at the front of the restaurant

“We’ve also made a wall with photographs from back through the years. It's complete with pictures of our family and our mum and dad.

“So, when you’re sitting there you are sitting in a bit of history and you can see the beautiful seafront and people passing by.”

Marrocco’s was founded in 1969 by Renato Marrocco, Peter’s father, who moved to Brighton from Cassino in Southern Italy.

The Argus: Marrocco's is still serving its classic pizzas Marrocco's is still serving its classic pizzas

Livia Marrocco, Peter’s sister and restaurant co-owner, said her father would be “proud” of how his family have rallied together and kept the business going during lockdown.

She said: “We’re a small family-run business and that’s what people love. You get that personal touch and that’s what we like as well.

“The amount of people that come and say, ‘I used to come in here when your mum and dad ran it’ or ‘I used to come in here when you were little'.

The Argus: Marrocco's Hove has undergone a makeover during lockdownMarrocco's Hove has undergone a makeover during lockdown

“And people are so pleased when they find out it's still in the family.

“Our dad, bless him, he isn’t around any more but I can’t imagine how he would have found this situation, but I think he would have been proud of how we have come out of this.”

Peter added: “We get people coming in with their children who say that they used to come in with their parents when they were children.

The Argus: Peter and Livia pictured outside Marrocco's, HovePeter and Livia pictured outside Marrocco's, Hove

“It’s multi-generational and most places can’t really say that.”

Marrocco's stayed open for takeaway and collection services while restrictions on indoor dining were in place, and staff have been serving its famed ice-cream from a counter.

But Peter and Livia are now hoping for a bumper summer of trade and the bookings have already started flooding in.

Livia said: “We do have quite a big regular customer base. Even though in the summer we have lots of tourists coming in, we do also have our regulars who come all year round.

“Brighton is such a big city for tourism, and I think this summer is going to be busier than ever.

“I think a lot of people will be hesitant to travel abroad so lots of people will be looking to holiday in England and I think Brighton will be very busy.

“Even through the winter and the wetter months, and with the weather not being so good now, we have been so lucky.”