A QUIRKY restaurant which serves a menu largely unchanged since the 1960s is to close its doors for the final time.

Mediterranean restaurant The Blue Lagoon in Darlington had announced last year it was planning to close – but then owners Chris and Peter Kattou postponed retirement one last time.

Now the eatery, which describes itself as Darlington’s oldest restaurant, has announced it is to close next month.

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The outlet, which specialises in Greek cuisine and is renowned for its creamed cabbage, moussaka and homemade chips, has retained its old-school charm.

The business remains largely untouched from its heyday, its interior containing ancient wax-covered wine bottles and a menu largely unchanged since the 1960s.

It will stop serving food to customers on September 9 this year following 56 years of business.

The Northern Echo last announced that the long-time owners, who took over from their late father Andreas in 1987, had decided to close the eatery in October last year, before they decided to postpone retirement one last time.

They told their Facebook fans: “What can we say apart from thanks to everyone who has dined with us, worked with us, supported us and drank until the early hours with us.

“It’s time to retire and although we are looking forward to putting our feet up, we still miss the restaurant.

“We’ve put years into making it the place it is and we’d like to say good luck to the next people.”

After failing to line up a buyer for the restaurant, the pair will leave behind a loyal fan base.

One customer, Paul Kane, said: “You always receive a fantastic welcome, from the friendliest staff ever to work in a restaurant.

“It’s like going around to your best friend’s house for a meal –they make you feel at ease, they can’t do enough for you and the food is always first class. It is old-school dining, with the attention to detail you just don’t get in many places these days.”

When The Blue Lagoon first opened, in 1961, it was the only restaurant in Darlington. There were hotels and tea rooms, but no restaurants.

Not only this, the Katous’ restaurant was the first continental restaurant many people had visited.

An intriguing novelty at first, its Greek culture caused a stir in the 1950s Leeds outlet, by allowing diners to eat ‘al fresco’, which was previously unheard of in the area.