Christian stays in the family business as he opens his Italian deli

Christian Mascia has just opened Casa Sarda in Hilsea. ''Picture: Malcolm Wells (142237-4140)
Christian Mascia has just opened Casa Sarda in Hilsea. ''Picture: Malcolm Wells (142237-4140)

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Like father, like son goes the saying. And it’s certainly true for one of Portsmouth’s restaurant families.

Christian Mascia, whose father Giuseppi has run The Pizza House in Hilsea Market, London Road, for around 40 years, opened Casa Sarda next door.

The Italian-style deli and cafe is now open for breakfast and lunch from 10am to 5pm.

‘We have been open just over a week and we are going to have an official opening this weekend,’ Christian said.

‘The Pizza House is owned by my father so this is my own little venture.

‘He started here 40 years ago. I grew up in the restaurant.

‘I was working there when I was at school so I have been involved in the business for at least 20 years.

‘I used to come down at the weekends when I was studying at university in London and helped out in the kitchen.

‘I have been a chef, I have done front of house and all the other parts of the business.

‘This is my own little offshoot of the restaurant but it is completely different to what we are doing with the restaurant.’

As Christian works flat-out to secure the success of his deli, he will remain the manager of his dad’s restaurant.

But it isn’t something he is concerned by, he says, having already recruited three people to help out with the day-to-day running of Little Italy.

‘We serve an Italian breakfast, which is like an English breakfast with some special differences, like the inclusion of Italian sausage,’ the Hilsea resident says.

‘We serve an antipasti complete with Italian meats and seafood.

‘We have sandwiches at lunch, paninis, jacket potatoes, stone-baked pizzas. They are things people can eat in or take away with them.

‘We have the deli with lots of meats, cheeses, pasta, chocolate, imported cakes, and a full range of Italian coffees.

‘We have got good links with suppliers all over Italy already which will make sure we get the best ingredients.

‘In time, we will have a delivery service.

‘We have created some jobs and as we go forward and when the delivery starts, we could have more vacancies.’

Asked what his ambitions for the future are, Christian said: ‘I’d like to see it do well and open another two or three of them and bring more high-quality delis to the Portsmouth area.

‘It’s like a nice extension to the restaurant brand.

‘I have only been open for just over a week and it has been going okay so far.

‘Quite a lot of people have come in and wanted to see what we are up to.’