Glasgow residents recall legendary Italian restaurant Dino Ferrari

In 2014, Glasgow residents mourned the closure of a city institution that for many had given them one of their first experiences of Italian cuisine.

With roots in Glasgow dating back to the 1960s, Dino Ferrari was a household name in the city center for decades.

And although pizza margherita and pasta al forno are commonplace today, there was a time when these dishes were a novelty – and Dino’s – as the Sauchiehall Street restaurant was familiarly known – was a true pioneer in serving them to the masses. from Glasgow. .

The restaurant is the product of a merger between restaurateurs, Francis Ferrari, who had premises at 10 Sauchiehall Street, and Dino Baldi, who ran a restaurant at Buchanan Street.

The acquisition of the Ferrari business resulted in the establishment of Dino Ferrari, which by the 1970s had moved to a new, larger space on the ground floor of the Empire House at 35-41 Sauchiehall Street, on the former site of the Empire Theatre. .

Town educator Pat McVey visited often during her teenage years in the 1970s and said Dino’s “slap bang” downtown location made it a perfect meeting place.

Pat told Glasgow Live: “In the early 70s, and as a young teenager, it was an accessible and trendy place to have a coffee.

“We missed the Milk Bar trend and had gone to Italian restaurants for a more formal meal in our childhood, but Dino’s was different and because of its location – slap bang in the city, more interesting than, say, an Italian cafe It was like ‘SoHo’ in Glasgow.

“It was different things for different people – convenient for the movies or after work.”

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Known for its great food and friendly family atmosphere, Dino’s was popular with diners at all times of the day and earned a reputation for offering a top-notch menu and great coffee.

Imogen Keane (11) and Liam Devine (10) in Dino Ferrari’s Sauchiehall Street restaurant in 2013.

Dino Ferrari’s was run by the Crolla family and the restaurant benefited from its proximity to the Apollo Theater and later the UGC Cinema (now Cineworld) in Renfrew Street, which opened in 2001.

Glasgow resident Eleanor McConville says her husband worked for a time as a restaurant manager at Dino’s, and they went there for birthdays and anniversaries.

She said: “We used to come at the weekend if we were in town and we were always treated well when we walked in.

“The food was amazing and Mr. and Mrs. Crolla were great. We were really upset when we found out it was closing.”

David Routledge also has fond memories of the Glasgow institution and feels it was the “best Italian” in town.

He said: “I visited it often, sometimes with my brother and sister-in-law. I loved the cannelloni and used to sit watching the old lady in the kitchen, stirring a huge pot.

“There was also Massimo, the butler, a real gentleman.

“Dinos used to be the best Italian restaurant in Glasgow – too bad it’s not there anymore.”

After almost 50 years of activity, the closure of Dino Ferrari was confirmed in 2014 following the retirement of Alfredo Crolla. A Halifax branch now occupies the site.

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