ONE of the first neighbourhood cafes, Tuart Hill’s Lucafe, is celebrating 30 years serving up classic Italian dishes.
Owner and chef Luigi D’Annunzio said he had seen three generations of local families walk through the doors.
Mr D’Annunzio said his family, hailing from Abruzzo in Italy, bought the corner deli in 1979, which he took over as a cafe after finishing as an apprentice chef.
“I’ve never given up on this place; it is a real family place,” he said.
“My mum still makes the homemade sauce, the gnocchi and the lasagne; there are a few things that I’m not allowed to make.
“I would say that every week I have customers come in from 30 years ago.”
Starting out as a takeaway-only cafe with a few tables serving a limited menu, Lucafe soon outgrew its small premises and took over the adjoining deli.
“I had a few tables and people would eat pasta and bowls of mussels out the front; it just got busier and busier,” he said.
“I still have people walking across the street ordering takeaways.
“Now, when we close the restaurant and go on our holiday, people will order a couple of extra lasagnes to put in the freezer.”
The recipe for success, according to Mr D[‘Annunzio, is consistent, honest food and service.
“That’s what I always do, we prepare fresh every single day,” he said.
“I think it is honesty in the cooking; it is wholesome, real food.
“I’ve just turned 54 and I never thought that I’d be here for 30 years, so I’m just really grateful to all my customers.”
Opinion, page 9