Popular St Albans delicatessen downsizing after “expensive” legal campaign

Tony Picciuto. Picture: Stephanie Belton

Tony Picciuto. Picture: Stephanie Belton - Credit: Archant

A long-standing and popular St Albans delicatessen is set to downsize next month following years of legal battles.

Tony Picciuto’s Italian deli on Lattimore Rd, Buongiorno Italia. Picture: Stephanie Belton

Tony Picciuto’s Italian deli on Lattimore Rd, Buongiorno Italia. Picture: Stephanie Belton - Credit: Archant

Tony Picciuto’s Italian deli on Lattimore Road, Buongiorno Italia, is currently split between two properties - one of which is up for redevelopment into a residential home.

After initially fighting the scheme, Tony has decided to save himself further legal fees needed to fight the change and embrace the shop floor reduction.

He said: “The attempts to save the shop were becoming expensive and futile so we decided to consider all the good stuff rather than the bad stuff. Our customers were very loyal - they came to us when we were very small, they came to us then we expanded, and our customers will come back when we downsize. We still have a lovely shop and it will just be a bit more cosy.”

Tony added the campaign had already cost tens of thousands of pounds: “I am a little bit disappointed to tell you the truth, but we thought the fight would be more clean cut and it wasn’t.

“It would have been a long, expensive battle.”

He has no plans to reduce the number of items on sale and will just pack all the products into a smaller space instead.

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Patrons showed their support following the announcement on the deli’s Facebook page.

Helen Armour said: “Hope the refit goes smoothly and I’m sure the new space will be just as magical. We will certainly continue to visit.”

David Josephs added: “This is a beautiful deli in St Albans. People of Harpenden and St Albans do try and support this local business if you can. The food is awesome, and if we value independent businesses we need to support them by buying from them.”

A 2015 application to turn one half of the shop into a four bedroom home was refused by St Albans district council and on appeal by Planning inspector Matthew Nunn.

Buongiorno Italia was set up 40 years ago and Tony is confident this change will not affect profitability: “The response from customers has been wonderful and it is a case that people will return.

“We are lucky we have such local customers and as long as people keep coming back, we will survive.”

The shop won the Civic Society Award 2012. It will be downsized by mid-February, and may have to close for two weeks.