An award-winning city centre restaurant and its pasta master are branching out to a second site.
Angelo’s Ristorante has built up a firm following for its traditional Italian food at its original base in West Sunniside.
Not only was it named in the top ten best Italian restaurants in the country in last year’s national English Italian awards, but head chef Nello Russo was named Best Chef.
Now diners in East Rainton will be able to sample the cuisine which impressed awards judge and celebrity chef Aldo Zilli when Nello and business partner Federico Trulli open a second restaurant.
Angelo’s Trattoria will open in the former The Olde Ships Inn pub in Durham Road in a fortnight’s time.
The restaurateurs have already given their Angelo’s stamp to the traditional pub’s exterior and are busy renovating inside as part of a £25,000 makeover.
Federico said: “The opportunity came up to take over this site, so we thought we’d go for it. The owner of The Olde Ships Inn is a good friend and comes to Angelo’s Ristorante every week so had mentioned it to us.
“We came here for a meal and loved the building and countryside setting, as well as the fact it has free parking.
“We decided to call it Angelo’s Trattoria because it’s more rustic than the Ristorante, which has a city centre location.”
Three chefs positions, as well as seven other front of house jobs, have been created by the new venture with Nello overseeing the kitchens at both sites.
The menu will be similar to that at the original Angelo’s and will serve Nello’s award-winning traditional pasta and sausage dish.
“Even though we won the award last year, people still ask for the dish for which Nello won the award,” said Federico. “The menu will be authentic Italian food using the best ingredients, nothing frozen. We buy all our meat and fish as close to the restaurant as possible.
“It’s nothing too complicated, but it’s quality food with friendly service. The original Angelo’s is very popular and does really well, we want to build on that.”
Speaking of the site’s new look, he said: “The Olde Ships Inn had a nautical theme and was in good condition. If you wanted a pub, it would be perfect. But we needed to change it to make it look more like a rustic restaurant.
“So we have new tables and chairs, wallpaper and light fittings, as well as a pizza oven.”