One of Adelaide’s most famous restaurants has been placed into administration but the owner is hoping a new buyer will be found to keep the business alive.

Rigoni’s Bistro has been operating on Leigh Street in the city since 1979, having opened back in 1956 as Rigoni’s Café in Moonta St.

Owner Tony Bailey, who took ownership back in 2006, posted on Facebook on Wednesday afternoon that he had no option but to appoint a voluntary administrator due to debt that had become “unmanageable”.

“It is with great sadness that I have been left with no option but to appoint Michael Basedow of Pitcher Partners as Voluntary Administrator.” Bailey wrote.

He said he been “unable to reach an agreement with the creditor”.

“While currently tradition very strongly and profitably, the legacy of debt from previous years has been unmanageable.

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“I am working closely with the Administrator to achieve the best possible outcome for Rigoni’s Bistro. I would like to thank all my guests and suppliers for their fantastic support over the last 13 years and look forward to Rigoni’s continuing for the benefit of its staff and creditors.”

The restaurant will continue to serve meals in the immediate future but the Facebook post stressed it needed a buyer as a matter of urgency, meaning it may be forced to close very soon if a saviour isn’t found.

InDaily reported that the Australian Tax Office and employee’s superannuation were the two largest debts owed.

“The consensus (among employees) was ‘you’ll have to kick us out kicking and screaming’,” Bailey told InDaily.

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“It’s an unfortunate situation. We’re looking for a buyer.”

The Italian restaurant is in the heart of Adelaide’s small bar scene and had been the restaurant of choice for politicians and city big wigs for many years.

Mix 102.3 Adelaide