Miaitalia - the award winning Italian restaurant in Bolton-le-Sands
PUBLISHED: 15:04 19 March 2017 | UPDATED: 15:04 19 March 2017
Italian food is child's play at an award-winning restaurant in Bolton-le-Sands. Emma Mayoh reports
Joseph, George and Leo Waddington come bounding through the door like young men on a mission. They’ve been promised pizza for tea – and they can make it themselves. Even better, they can do it at their parents’ restaurant and pizzeria – and they get to do it on the grown-ups’ side of the bench.
‘They really love making their own,’ said dad David Waddington, who runs Miaitalia with wife Katy. ‘It’s a fun thing to do though, isn’t it? All the kids who come here really enjoy it. They all have big smiles on their faces. And so do their parents because it means they can relax and have a glass of wine.’
Miaitalia was born from David’s passion for all things Italian, first forged by his Tuscany-born grandmother, Gina Tognarelli, who moved to England following the Second World War and worked at her aunt’s restaurant in Kendal.
‘That lifestyle is something that’s been a big part of my life,’ said David. ‘I spent a lot of time with my parents in Italy when I was a boy and it’s something we do with our boys now.
‘The Italians are so family focused and their food is very sociable. We really hope we do this in the restaurant too. I have a lot of happy memories of Italy and it felt natural to celebrate this in the business.’
It was while working as a journalist in Lancaster that 38-year-old David, who also worked in television on programmes for the BBC and Channel 4, and Katy decided to set up on their own. David had always wanted his own business and decided to take a leap of faith. Starting with a coffee franchise from Clitheroe’s Exchange Coffee company, the pair had contracts with the University of Central Lancashire supplying coffee on site at the Preston campus. They then launched a retail shop and coffee bar in Kirkby Lonsdale. But when the premises in Bolton-le-Sands came on the market, David had to have it.
‘I’d seen it about ten years ago,’ he explained. ‘But I felt we needed a bit more experience before we did something like that. When it came up for sale again I knew we had to go for it.
‘We totally gutted the place and did it up. We opened just before Christmas which was quite a learning curve but I think we did ok and people seem to love coming here. We’re really proud and happy.’
As well as local suppliers, including a butcher’s a short walk away, David and Katy also import Italian ingredients and goodies. All the pizzas are made by hand and from scratch by David and his kitchen team.
Their efforts were rewarded with a high accolade late last year when Miaitalia was awarded Best Pizzeria at the 2016 Italian Awards. The national competition, supported by Aldo Zilli and Gennaro Contaldo, is designed to highlight the best Italian food businesses in the UK.
‘We couldn’t believe it,’ said David. ‘They read our name out and we were so surprised. We hoped we’d win but wow, it was incredible to actually get it.
‘It’s a sign we’re doing things right and reward for all of the hard work we’re doing. It’s also proof that a small pizzeria in a small place like Bolton-le-Sands can attract attention away from the cities and places like London. We were so happy.’
David and Katy have recently started making their own gelato and are due to launch a wholesale business selling it to other restaurants and cafes. They also plan to open a gelateria in Morecambe in May.
‘Morecambe is a place that’s really on the rise,’ said David. ‘The seaside is the perfect place to have gelato. We want to expand the business too so this is a way we can do that.
‘Miaitalia is perfect for us. Not only does it mean we can celebrate the traditions that have been a big part of my life but it’s good for our family life and works for us and it has been really accepted by the community. It’s great.’