The pandemic nearly forced the popular Burnley Cafe to close, but owners promise to be back bigger and better than ever in May
Lynn Scibetta, who owns and runs Bellissimo with her boss husband John, said: “Yes there were times we thought about giving up but I looked at my husband John and thought, ‘This is a fantastic chef, we’ve won awards so there’s no way to give up. ”
The couple are now preparing to reopen the doors of the store on May 17 for the first time since November.
Lynn said, “We look forward to getting back on track and welcoming new and old customers again.”
Describing what it felt like ‘being thrown into a bottom pool when you can’t swim’ when the Italian restaurant had to close at the start of the first lockdown, Lynn added: ‘It was really a bath or a bath. .
“In the months that followed it was like being on a roller coaster, all the different emotions and feelings you have.”
Established in Parker Lane nine years ago, the family business, which also employs Lynn and John’s youngest son Robert, closed in March at the start of the first lockdown before being allowed to reopen for a short time in July before the second lockdown. Then came the third, and possibly the toughest, lockdown in November.
Lynn said: “The shock of not having an income but still having to pay bills at the store and at home was a huge blow.
“You worry so much, like where do we go from here? How are we going to manage? What if we catch the virus?
“We were also concerned for the store and our customers.”
Lynn added that, like many independent family businesses, they faced real fears for the future, especially when many high street giants, such as Debenhams and Dorothy Perkins, fell victim to the pandemic.
She said: “We thought all the big names would be fine and make it through the pandemic, but when so many people failed to realize that no one was immune from the effects of this pandemic.”
Holder of the title of Best Coffee for 2015 and 2017 in the prestigious English Italian Cuisine Awards, John was honored to be invited to cook for Italy’s response to Gordon Ramsey, the respected Neopolitan pizza chef Gianfranco Lervolino.
Bellissimo was also supported by celebrity Italian chef Aldo Zilli, the founder of the English Italian awards who personally asked the Scibettas to participate in the awards.
The couple praised Burnley MP Antony Higginbotham for the help and advice he gave them regarding the various grants they could access.
Lynn said, “We couldn’t have done it without him.
“The help Antony and his office staff have given has been a lifeline for us, invaluable. He works hard for Burnley and people need to understand that.”
Lynn also thanked the Burnley Council for the help and support it has given to businesses in the city as being “helpful and positive”.
The Scibettas have decided to use the grant money to completely revamp the store they are keeping secret until the grand reopening.
Lynn said, “We have used every penny very wisely.
“This is the start of a new era for us with a new look restaurant and a new menu, we look forward to welcoming new and old customers.”