As restaurants come and go many of the area’s eateries evoke fond memories of family meals out or celebrations of milestone birthdays or exam success.
Some venues have stood the test of time and are still trading today, whilst others have closed due to financial reasons or have been transformed into new places to dine. And in the case of one Grimsby restaurant, it was even resurrected at a new location but just in name only!
We’ve taken a look back into our archives at some of Grimsby’s restaurants which were hugely popular in the late 1980s and 1990s. Which were your favourites and what memories do they bring back for you?
Where? Victoria Street South, Grimsby
What type of eatery? Owned by Italian Franco Contegiacomo, the restaurant could not really serve up anything other than authentic Italian cuisine. With its distinctive cottage-style facade, butterfly ornaments, and bright pink colouring the restaurant was never hard to miss.
Believed to have opened in 1990, it served exotic dishes from Italy and other European countries under the gaze of paintings of Italian streets . You wouldn’t have found pizzas and pasta on the main menu!
In 1999, the Pink Butterfly owners created a three-tier smoked ostrich, wild boar and basil pesto sandwich, with aubergines and peppers as part of National Sandwich week. In 2009, Franco was offering free Italian lessons with his weekly dinners at the venue!
Dishes served included; spicy meat turnovers, fanned paw-paw melon and home-made banana ice cream, risotto Milanese with artichoke, pasticcio of smoked pancetta, escallops of pork, rump steak, lamb shank, spezzatino, seabream and whole baked aubergine.
Franco said his popular dessert was his own recipe of rice pudding with mascarpone and fresh raspberries.
It was a place to celebrate birthdays, wedding receptions or enjoy a cosy romantic meal. In 2012, he applied to change it to a B&B and work began in 2013. Today it is a bed and breakfast establishment still owned by Franco.
Where? High Street, Cleethorpes
What type of eatery? Originally it was an international restaurant owned by chef Wanphen Harper, serving mainly Thai food and steaks including speciality dishes such as Duck Gang Keow Waan and Fillet Steak Ambassador.
In 2008, new co-owner Stacey Welsh took over it, giving it a refurbishment and welcoming customers old and new. A year later, the kitchen was extended and they transformed an upstairs room into a smart lounge style bar.
In 2010 the restaurant won the Grimsby Telegraph Restaurant of the Year for the Best Oriental Category. An award-winning Thai chef prepared some of the best Thai cuisine available, along with fish, chicken, steak and continental dishes.
Later on in 2010, it was renamed So Thai but closed in recent years. The last review was in October 2015 on Trip Advisor.
Where? Riverhead, Grimsby
What type of eatery? The rival to McDonald’s fast food chain, it served burgers, fries and milkshakes. It was popular for children’s parties. When the new precinct opened in 1973, it proved extremely popular, particularly with teenagers, as it had a modern Wimpy bar. This was close to the side entrance to Woolworth’s.
There was also a Wimpy in Cleethorpes too along the promenade but that no longer exists either.
Where? Bethlehem Street, Grimsby
What type of eatery? Owned by Vasos Vasiliou, Othello opened in 1967, making it one of Grimsby’s longest established eateries. It quickly became famous due to its authentic Greek and international cuisine, ambient atmosphere and high standards of service.
Still trading today, the menu offers a range of traditional Greek Cypriot dishes, a selection of classic dishes cooked on an open charcoal grill.
In 2004, the Greek owner could not abandon his business during the Euro football game so he watched the biggest match in his nation’s history with his customers. Being a Greek Cypriot, Vasos was overwhelmed by the game’s outcome and celebrated the win by buying diners a round of drinks at his Bethlehem Street premises.
During the same year, a 4ft statue of Aphrodite, the Goddess of Love, was stolen from the Greek restaurant as people got carried away over Easter, ahead of the summer Olympics.
And we are pleased to say it’s still trading today.
Where? Wellowgate, Grimsby
What type of eatery? It served Italian food from pizzas to spaghetti bolognese and plenty of garlic bread! The Wellowgate restaurant was run by Italian brothers Mario and Vito Cataffo and was an institution, particularly in terms of entertainment.
Vito went on to own Via Italia in Louth, and achieved national acclaim in a six-part Channel 4 series Dolce Vito, in which he established a restaurant serving British food in the Italian city of Bologna, in 2009, before passing away at his home in Lincoln in 2010.
Today the building trades as Indian restaurant, Spice of Life.
In August 2017, the Italian Affair was resurrected in name only on Waltham’s High Street as a tribute to the memory of the original restaurant.
Where? New Oxford House, Osbourne Street, Grimsby
What type of eatery? Originally a French restaurant, named after French owner Regine, images on our archive from 1992 show the restaurant with very frilly silky drapes, velvet padded seating and a patterned carpet. The toilets appear to resemble a country farmhouse kitchen with fake flower baskets and more frilly curtains.
It had a short spell as a Mexican restaurant until 2001, when it became Mediterranean Breeze restaurant; specializing in the cuisine of the Mediterranean and Middle East. In 2002, the manager of the restaurant, Eddie Sit, offered free drinks to customers every time Turkey scored against Brazil in the World Cup semi-final!
It briefly closed in 2002 after the licensee left but re-opened before closing for good in 2004, when it became estate agents Jump.
After it closed down, it became an office for Unite the Union.
Leon’s Fish Restaurant
Where? Alexandra Road, Grimsby
What type of eatery? Opened by Leon Marklew in 1985, it served traditional fish and chip fayre, including grilled haddock, salmon fillet, tuna and wild sea bass. In 2001, it was forced to close briefly because of an acute shortage of haddock and skate – due to a strike by Icelandic trawlermen and other factors such as the weather.
Owner Leon Marklew used to serve up over 50,000 meals a year at the popular eatery before he handed over the business to Tonia Dunk in 2003. Three years later in 2006, it began offering a takeaway service too. And in 2007 it began opening on Sundays due to demand.
In January 2015, LCS expanded into the former fish restaurant which had closed down a few years earlier.