Long-running San Marino restaurant settles into new home in Deptford
One of the city’s longest-running restaurants has opened in its new home in one of Sunderland’s most historic pubs.
San Marino had served its popular Italian classics for 26 years at its restaurant in Chester Road, but moving the restaurant to its sister venue at Hanover Place has allowed owners Elisa Ricci and husband Ben Harman to cater for more covers, whilst also creating a new look outdoor space for al fresco dining.
Elisa, whose dad Franco Ricci set up San Marino with his then business partner Fausto, before Ben bought the business a number of years ago, said: “It’s the same menu, the same chefs, the same staff as San Marino, but with social distancing we could only get eight tables in the Chester Road restaurant. Here we can have double that, as well as the seating outside.
"It’s a real sun trap outside and it’s proving a really popular place to eat.”
The couple took over Hanover Place, which once served up pints for the shipyard workers, in 2019 but closed it in October 2020 when the tier restrictions made running a hospitality venue difficult.
Amalgamating their two businesses as San Marino at Hanover Place as restrictions ease has given them the chance to reopen the historic watering hole, and Elisa says it’s great to be able to serve their regulars once more.
"San Marino at Hanover Place has been open for three weeks now and the first customers in were San Marino regulars,” said Elisa. “We’ve also seen some new faces too. People are really happy to be back out.
"Lots of people have fond memories of San Marino, but our customers are happy we this new space. We have bar facilities here too, so it means people can stay for a drink instead of leaving after their meal. We’re also dog friendly, so they can bring their pets along and stay for the afternoon.
"It has been sad to leave Chester Road, but we have to move with the times.”
Nearby pub The Saltgrass has also extended its outdoor offering, and Elisa says there’s a good circuit for people.
"This part of Sunderland is undergoing huge regeneration and investment and there’s a great string of pubs, with the Ship Isis, King’s Arms, here and The Saltgrass,” she explained.