A POPULAR Kincardine chip shop gutted by fire almost two years ago will reopen officially this weekend.

Ilario's, which has been at the heart of the community for 37 years, is finally back in business – much to the delight of local residents.

The chippy had to undergo a complete rebuild following the devastating blaze which tore through the building in 2017.

Despite informal opening of the shop to coincide with Kincardine Children's Gala at the weekend, the doors will officially re-open on Sunday.

Riccardo Chicarella said he and his staff have endured "two years of frustration", but reserved special thanks for all those in the village who have stood by them.

He said: "We have been desperate to get back and it has taken a lot longer than expected – we've had a hard time with insurance, but you have to roll with it.

"That's two years we've been shut, which is a long time, and we don't want anyone else to go through that.

"We've had two years of frustration, and it was a kick in the teeth, but now we're open we should be celebrating and concentrate on moving on.

"The support we've had has been unbelievable," he added. "We received 20 bouquets of flowers on Saturday, and we were queued out the door.

"We were taken aback and it is humbling. We've had hundreds of comments online from people saying that they're so happy we're back, and we'd just like to say thank you.

"The family would like to thank everyone who has supported us from when the fire happened to today.

"Without them, we wouldn't be anything. They built us."

Ilario's has been a mainstay among residents since Riccardo's father Ilario established the business in the village, having emigrated from Italy.

The owners, who also have an outlet in Oakley, often welcome customers travelling from far and wide to grab a slice of the action.

He continued: "I think it stems from years ago, before the other (Clackmannanshire) bridge was open, when the Glasgow crowd would travel to places like Burntisland or St Andrews.

"A lot of kids would go with their parents or grandparents and we were the last chip shop before going over the bridge, and our customer base grew from there.

"There have been a number of people saying things like, 'We've missed you', or 'We can't wait to see you back open', and it feels like time has stopped with people waiting for us to open.

"It's a bit surreal, but we've been open for nearly 40 years, which has been a long time for my dad, so it's great for him."

Sunday's celebrations, which are set to take place at 3.30pm, will include a performance by Tulliallan Pipes and Drums before a ribbon-cutting ceremony.