ONE of the area's most popular restaurants closed suddenly this week.
Callums Bistro on Abbey Street, Accrington, which opened 13 years ago, blamed "many factors" for its closure on Wednesday.
Devastated proprietor Ray Peake, 44, said: "Callums has sadly ceased trading. Over the 13 years we have traded we have had a very happy time and made lots of friends. Many regular customers have become very good friends but now is the time for me to take another direction. Any customers who have booked will be notified personally as will our regulars."
It is understood the Abbey Street building will go on the market this week and any buyers would have the opportunity to re-establish it as a restaurant.
During his time at Callums Mr Peake has built a reputation as a colourful and controversial character.
A decade ago he was ordered to remove a 16ft high sign on the side of the building hailing the upmarket bistro as: "Callums - when you are ready for something better..."
Shortly after opening the restaurant he invited former Prime Minister John Major to dine there during a ministerial visit to Accrington, but disappointment followed when Mr Major turned down the offer.
The small bistro was renowned as a lively party venue as well as gaining a reputation for fine food and wine.
Mr Peake was also well known for providing an annual festive lunch for the elderly when he invited pensioners to dine for free each Christmas.