Armagnac restaurant in Montpellier will re-open - Olivier Azam
One of Cheltenham's best loved restaurants Armagnac will re-open again the Echo can reveal today.
The French eatery on Rotunda Terrace in Montpellier closed in May and has not been open since.
Montpellier traders had been left baffled by the sudden closure.
When the Echo called the restaurant's telephone number a recorded message said it had been closed for staff holidays and was due to re-open on May 25 but today it was still closed when a reporter visited.
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It is owned by former Gloucester Rugby star Olivier Azam with his wife Katie.
Today the Echo spoke to Oli who confirmed the closure is not permanent.
Oli said: "I wasn't happy with a certain member of staff so it was closed but I wanted to give myself time to get it just right before re-opening."
He said new work commitments meant he had not had the time to sort out the issues at the restaurant but he is due to return to Gloucestershire next week to sort it out and re-open.
The former Gloucester hooker, who won 10 caps for the national French team, has just been appointed to a new coaching role at Lyon in the Pro D2 division after leaving Heineken Cup champions Toulon.
"I have been too busy with work and family commitments to be on site at the restaurant to sort it out," he said.
The Kingsholm legend said his team in the UK had made every effort to ensure everyone who had made a booking at Armagnac during the closure period had been contacted by telephone to explain the situation.
"We even had people on site in the evenings when we knew there were bookings to talk to people," he said.
The restaurant is undergoing a refurbishment, said Oli, to include a revamped kitchen.
"I want to get it right rather than do a botch job," he said.
Closure of the restaurant would have been a blow to bustling Montpellier which is currently enjoying a major marketing and promotional campaign.
The Montpellier Association was formed in 2012 to increase footfall to the area and market the rich blend of independent shops in the area.
Armagnac has a good reputation in the Cheltenham eating out scene and is known for producing fine French cuisine.
It was opened by Oli in 2006 under the name "Le Quinze."
In 2009 it underwent a makeover and became Armagnac - named after the famous spirit of Mr Azam's home region of Gascony.