CUSTOMERS have been left gutted after Winsford's first 'experience restaurant and bar' has closed.

Rango's decided to shut its Italian/Tex Mex restaurant on Delamere Street on Friday, just days before its second anniversary because it simply wasn't making enough money.

It was the first restaurant of its kind in the town to offer a menu featuring classics with a twist, fusing food styles in novel ways.

Damon Horrill, who managed the new concept through Cornerstone Inns' co-operative, said: "Everyone is gutted, customers and staff. A lot of people put an awful lot of love and commitment into it. We have given everything to making Rango's work.

"We have grown but not sufficiently to break even. We couldn't sustain losses.We have not had the level of level of business to make the business sustainable  This is a big expensive site to run."

Winsford Guardian:

Rango's customers remember the good times on the last night of the restaurant

The restaurant opened in the former Saxon's pub and operated as a restaurant during the day with live entertainment at weekends.

Research Damon carried out last year revealed that 70 per cent of Winsford residents said they wouldn't eat out in the town.

"It is a challenging," he said. "There just isn't a restaurant and bar culture here. If we had opened Rango's in Baron's Quay in Northwich we might perhaps have had a different footfall.

"But we have grown by osmosis. The team did incredibly well creating a high quality concept and because our image and reputation is intact, we might open somewhere else.

"A different location, a different time. All is not lost."

Rango's made an impression on many visitors from outside town.

"We had so many customers coming in asking us if they could give us the address of any other Rango's," said Damon. "They were surprised when we said 'this is the only one'.

"We were trying to give Winsford things other people don't bring to the town."

Two investors from London and Brighton funded the venture and will absorb any losses.

"Nobody will lose their jobs over it," said Damon. "The co-operative will employ everyone who wants to continue working.

Winsford Guardian:

Customers treasure their happy memories of Rango's as they mark the final night

"To the friends we have made who have supported Rango's over the last two years we are so sorry for having to let you down. We have loved meeting you and serving you and will miss you all."

Many customers have posted messages on social media, saying how sorry they are to see the restaurant close.

Winsford Guardian:

This message made by a young child captures the mood of customers

Ellen Duncalf said: "Was there on Friday night. Excellent food and service as always. Very sad to see it close."

Anthony Caveney said: "Absolutely gutted. It was our fave place to go on a Friday night after a long hard week at work, sos orry for all the staff, they always worked so hard."

Jane Day added: "We're gutted. We have loved coming to Rango's. So sorry for all the staff who have looked after us on every visit."

Jackie Ridgway said: "What a real shame, enjoying our last drinks here. Too many people of Winsford moan there is no nice places to eat and relax. You finally find somewhere and it is closing. Very gutted. Always had excellent food, excellent service, will be sadly missed."

Sharon Llewellyn added: "Totally gutted. This is is an amazing place."

Nathan Pardoe said: "I'm gutted. We loved having an independent restaurant in the town. It was a fantastic restaurant. The food was great and the staff were dedicated. Thanks for taking a chance on Winsford."

Laura Jane added: "It was a brave move to make it into a food place after it as a bar for so many years."

Alan Warburton said: "A terrible shame, it was one of the few places in Winsford where you could go for a quality meal in quirky surroundings. To Damon's eternal credit he tried to bring something different to the town. A sad loss."

Rachel Caldwell said: "Such a shame, me and my friends have had many a laugh and good meal there. I've also loved that you've catered for gluten free. We've also enjoyed your cocktails and gins."

Angie Hayward added: "Well done for trying to make a successful business - that takes passion and guts to put all that you have into a business. You obviously have an entrepreneurial mind so good look with your next business venture."