A FAMILY-run restaurant that has fed villagers for decades is embracing the events sector.

East Hanney eaterie La Fontana hopes to build a new bar area to add onto its function room in a bid to boost facilities for wedding and wake parties.

Carla Merola, one of four sisters who help run the Italian restaurant alongside their parents, said: "We've already had a new reception area and have put a herb area in the garden. It's to help us turn into a wedding venue as well as smarten the place up. It's quite different to how it looked before. People walk in and say 'wow'. We've had lots of things changed, from the carpets to the cutlery.

"It's about expanding the business and offering what people need."

She said when South Oxfordshire Crematorium opened in nearby Garford in 2014, the restaurant and guesthouse began offering a service for wakes including home-cooked comfort food such as sausage rolls.

She added: "We offer everything fresh and have rooms for accommodation on the site. We also have disabled toilets and facilities for older people.

"We have a mix of people that come here. Many people come for special occasions."

The Oxford Road restaurant has been running since 1988 and popular events include Elvis nights, in which an entertainer sings some of the music legend's most popular hits, and pasta specials on Mondays and Wednesdays featuring deals on certain dishes.

It now wants to attract more brides and grooms with the help of a newly-built reception area with modern marble floors, and the new bar for guests to indulge in drinks with ease.

Owner Mattia Merola, who hails from Italy, has applied to Vale of White Horse District Council for a single-storey extension to the back of the building that would house the bar.

The council is due to make a decision by January.

La Fontana's services for wedding parties currently cover catering from a three-course breakfast to an evening dinner, as well as accommodation for up to 65 guests and exclusive use of the venue until midnight if having an evening reception.