The owners of a Berkhamsted town centre eatery have always said that they love food – now they have put their money where their mouth is.
Alessia, Rosanna, Mario and Davide Aliotta have put £100,000 into the makeover of their business, which has seen it double in size, expanding into the unit next-door. The £100k bill is £40,000 more than expected.
I Love Food in Lower Kings Road will now stay open well into the evening – previously it was just a daytime coffee shop and cafe.
Alessia said: “Before we started, we thought: ‘We will only do this and we will only do that.’
“But when you start doing it, you think: ‘Why not do some more?’ And we have ended up with a fantastic place.”
The eatery reopened last Wednesday after being closed for more than two months for refurbishment, and began serving food in the evenings on Monday.
Alessia said that 35 people have booked a table at I Love Food for today – and the same number of reservations have been made for tomorrow.
She said: “It has been going very well. We have been very busy. All the old customers are back and we have some new ones too.
“So far they have been saying the food is very nice and amazing and they all appreciate the wine we are serving and the atmosphere we create.
“Our coffee is the best in Berkhamsted, the customers say, and the cakes are always fresh – baked new every day.”
The eatery has a strong Mediterranean theme and has been kitted out with new furniture. A new outdoor seating area is expected to be ready two weeks from now.
The Aliottas – who are Italian – have recruited a new evening manager, Salvatore Gennaro – also Italian – who has travelled all the way from Malta for the position.
They are also in the process of recruiting between six and eight new waiters and waitresses and two new chefs for their independent I Love Food eatery.
Carluccio’s, which like Ask is a big-name Italian food chain, opened a restaurant in the ground floor of Berkhamsted Town Hall in July 2012.