The family behind a Italian restaurant that has stood on Park Street for more than half a century say they face eviction in a matter of days - after plans to demolish the building in order to build a block of student flats was rubber-stamped by Bristol City Council.
Vincenzo’s Pizza House was opened by Naples-born Vincenzo Ricci and his wife Teresa at 71 Park Street in 1970 and is still running today - although this could be about to change.
The Ricci’s three children Isabella, Rafaele and Giuseppe now own the business but say the landlord intends to evict them and sell the premises to developers who plan to build 12 students flats at the site.
The eviction notice will be determined by a judge at Bristol County Court on December 20.
Isabella Ricci said: “We are hopeful we will get a new 15-year lease, but the threat of eviction hangs over us and we’ve already invested a lot of time and money trying to save our family restaurant.
“It’s exhausting to be honest, and expensive. Someone from the council even told me ‘you can just find a job somewhere else’ which made me want to laugh and cry.
“I’m a business owner, this restaurant is all I know, I’m pretty stuffed without it to be honest.”
The three siblings have spoken about their childhood in the restaurant, where they often slept on flour sacks in the warmth under the pizza oven and created a sun terrace on the roof of TM Lewin below.
“My brothers, our kids, our parents and our cousins worked here, it’s our family home,” added Isabella.
“We have such an amazing relationship with all our customers from over the years, as we’ve stayed true to our roots and done things Dad’s way.
“We’ve watched families change over time, grandkids becoming grandparents, as they visit us year after year.
“Nearly 52 years we’ve been here mind, that’s a lot of names for us to remember.”
A petition to help saved the restaurant, which you can view here, has garnered almost 4,000 signatures at the time of writing.
It reads: “50 years of authentic Bristol culture will be demolished, stripping our city of a much-loved, valuable and special independent business that has touched the lives of many.
“As Bristol changes at some speed, cross-generational venues like this are an important way to connect us to our past.”
Dave Piggott, director of building owners Urbina Limited, said: “I’m afraid we can’t make any comment until after the formal Judgement on the validity of the Break Notice, which is due to be handed down on Monday.”