Dozens of people packed into Giuseppe's Italian Restaurant on the corner of Castle Road and Kent Road in Southsea as it threw its doors open to the public yesterday.
Run by legendary Italian restaurateur Giuseppe Mascia – who has managed pizza houses in Portsmouth for best part of four decades – the eatery returned in triumphant fashion following the latest easing of lockdown.
Among those first through the door was returning regular Andy Price, who has been loyal customer of Giuseppe’s for decades.
Eating at the restaurant with his wife Amy and nine-year-old daughter Talia, Andy said: ‘We’re really pleased to be out. It feels like you’re going back to normal life again.
‘We love coming here. I have been waiting for this opportunity for about six months. It’s probably the closest we’re going to get to Italy this year.’
The Price family was joined by newfound regular Kevin Allen, of Old Portsmouth, who discovered the eatery last summer.
He said: ‘I feel elated to come back. I love authentic Italian and French cuisine and this restaurant is fantastic.’
Giuseppe, who previously ran the Pizza House in London Road, Hilsea, before opening his new venue in 2019, was delighted to welcome customers back.
The 70-year-old said: ‘I have really missed my customers. I am over the moon to have them back.
‘It’s been a nightmare of a year. I haven’t been able to sleep at night. I’m really looking forward to the summer where more people will have had the vaccine and we might be able to return to something more normal.
‘But we can’t relax yet.’
People are urged to book in advance to secure a place to eat in the restaurant.