Pizza House boss Giuseppe comes out of retirement to open new restaurant in Southsea
HE’S one of Portsmouth’s most famous restaurateurs and people thought they had seen the last of him when his restaurant closed three years ago.
But there’s no stopping the dynamic pocket rocket Giuseppe Mascia – who used to run the Pizza House in Hilsea.
The 68-year-old has come out of retirement to take over a venue in the heart of Southsea, and he says he couldn’t be happier to be back where he belongs – front of house, serving customers.
Giuseppe said: ‘Retirement was not for me. It was not in my blood. I want to work for my customers as that makes me happy. I tried to slow down and I spent a lot of time travelling all over helping my friends with their restaurants but it wasn’t the same.
‘I am pleased to be back in business in Southsea.’
Giuseppe opened Giuseppe's Italian Restaurant on the corner of Castle Road and Kent Road in Southsea on Friday.
The 46-seater restaurant, which until recently was Samphire, has been refitted and Giuseppe has brought some of his trusty Italian decor out of storage to give it an authentic look.
He said: ‘I have brought a little bit of the Pizza House to Southsea. It is a lot smaller than the Pizza House but it is very manageable and comfortable. I have built a good team here too.’
During his 40 years running the Pizza House, in London Road, Giuseppe made a name for himself in the city – for his lovable eccentric ways serving pizza and pasta, as well as raising money for charity and serving celebrities including former Pompey manager and King of the Jungle Harry Redknapp, former Prime Minister David Cameron, TV host Fred Dinenage and many more.
Giuseppe also made headlines when his giant pepper mill was stolen from the restaurant – only for it to turn up years later at a car boot sale.
The original Pizza House closed in June 2016 – and the business moved a few doors down into Giuseppe's son Christian’s restaurant, which is still open.
The new Southsea venture Giuseppe's Italian Restaurant will be open seven days a week serving lunch and dinner. It also boasts a cocktail bar.
On the menu are some of the Pizza House’s finest recipes, such as pizza, pasta, meat dishes, and lasagne.
Giuseppe said the best sellers so far have been the fresh fish, which he buys locally, and the rabbit, which is a Sardinian recipe his mother used to cook.
Last weekend saw locals swarm to the restaurant, keen to try the menu – and to see Giuseppe again.
Giuseppe said: ‘It has been much better than expected. There were so many people here, there was even a queue.
‘Everybody loves it, they all want to try it. I am very grateful.’