Atmosphere, service and food. Those are the three key elements that Sardinian owner Roberto Pittalis believes have made Café Lilli one of the most talked about restaurants on Teesside.
Based on Norton’s increasingly popular High Street, Café Lilli is bustlingly busy throughout the week as word spreads ever further about its cracking combination that combine to make the perfect night out.
The restaurant can even afford the unique position of not offering bookings after seven o’clock on Friday and Saturday evenings, to create the unique atmosphere of what it calls a Café Lilli Weekend.
Previously co-owner of Sassari, once of Durham’s Sadler Street and later on Middlesbrough’s Linthorpe Road, Roberto took a risk when opening Café Lilli 12 years ago.
He recalls: “I was looking for more of a village-type of restaurant and was told about a vacant property on Norton High Street. The high street was very different to what it is now when I saw it I fell in love with the place. I liked the village and I liked the location.
“It was a risk to open a restaurant when there were no others here at the time but if you don’t take a chance you will never know. And it’s proved to be the best business decision of my life.”
Now Roberto and Café Lilli, with its staff of 27, have built up a loyal customer base and welcome new customers daily.
“There is really no secret to our success,” smiles the lifelong restaurateur, who describes Café Lilli’s food as a fusion between modern cuisine with an Italian influence. “It’s down to hard work, always being positive and to never be afraid of being innovative. The awards, the reviews and the positive responses gives us the buzz to keep improving the place in all aspects.
“Perhaps the most important aspect of what we do is a really personal customer service. Knowing the customers’ needs and having the best team are essential to succeed in this business.”
• For more details about Café Lilli visit www.lillicafe.co.uk