AN ITALIAN restaurant that has gone down a treat with locals for a quarter of a century has been put up for sale.
Nicolino’s Italian Restaurant has stood proudly in North Street, Emsworth for 25 years, serving authentic Italian cuisine to droves of visitors.
Having been owned and operated by head chef Nicolino Diodovich since 1993, the business has grown and turned him into a household name in the area.
But Nicolino is finally calling time on the restaurant, as he moves on to explore other projects.
Reflecting on his time at the restaurant, he says that it has been a real pleasure to watch the Emsworth community grow around him.
He said: ‘I remember back in 1993 we were coming out of the recession – my friends told me it was a bad time to be opening a restaurant!
‘But it has been incredible. It is always busy here and seems to be just what the area wanted – an Italian restaurant with rustic food and a nice atmosphere.
‘It has always been a good time and good fun, developing the menu and spending time with everyone in the town.
‘People just come here to enjoy themselves and people in Emsworth have been very good to me. It’s a little town but it is a very special place.
‘I have customers who came along as children when I first opened, and they now bring their own children here – that means a lot to me.’
The secret to his success, Nicolino says, is his love of the job and his love of the customers.
He said: ‘You just have to keep it simple, and always be up and ready to please the customers and serve them with a smile.
‘We’re always happy here and I hope the customers have been happy too.’
The restaurant itself will be staying, with new owners coming in and leaving Nicolino to explore new opportunities in the town.
He said: ‘I hope that the staff will remain – they are the best around.
‘After 25 years I feel it is the time for me to move on – I’m not getting any younger so it would be nice for someone else to come in and have that opportunity and maybe bring in another 20 years.
‘Maybe I will get something smaller like a coffee shop or a small pizzeria – but I’m going to go on holiday first.
‘I just want to thank the community for supporting us for so many years – people have come here for many celebrations like birthdays and wedding proposals, and it has been good to be a part of that.’