The Di Paolo family, like many other families in the UK Ice Cream Business, originate from the Valle De Comino region of Lazio Italy. It was Luigi’s Great Grandad Lorenzo Di Marco, who came to England in the late 1890’s. Upon his arrival he worked in his uncle’s ice cream parlour/confectionary business in Eastbourne. His uncle made the ice cream and a young Lorenzo would take it up the famous Beachy Head, to sell from his barrow.
Lorenzo met his wife Orazia Pellossi and went back to Italy to marry her. When they both returned they decided to open up their own café/ice cream parlour on Queens Road Hastings. They then moved to bigger premises at Wellington Place and it was here they built up a very successful and highly regarded business both locally and nationally. They forged a relationship with the Ice Cream Alliance and the family became very successful at the national competitions. Winning the first prize Gold Medal in 1934 and then going on to win the prestigious ‘Fachinni’ Silver Cup in 1937. Following that, they won numerous Diplomas and Diplomas of Merit right up to the late 1950’s.
Lorenzo and Orazia had four children. Maria, Michele, Emilia and Serafino. Their daughter Emilia married Luigi Di Paolo in 1952. Lorenzo expanded the business by buying the premises next door and so “Di Marco Bro’s” was born. This new state of the art café/restaurant seated 200 people and was fitted out with a modern kitchen, which served hot and cold meals, snacks and take away food. A separate table service section was included within the restaurant and a Classic ‘Edoni’ batch freezer was installed in the window so that customers could see the ice cream being made.
Luigi Di Paolo was made partner in this business and helped push the business forward by turning the whole basement area into an Ice Cream Production Facility. Now they could supply their own vans, local hotels and meet the demand from the ice cream parlour.
Sadly this business closed in 1984, but these traditions continue at our existing premises:
5 Marina, Bexhill On Sea. Son Giovanni and Wife Christine started from scratch here in 1981.
They bought the business from a Family cousin Luigi Capaldi, who had also been making ice cream on the premises since 1946. Giovanni and Christine had to work hard to turn the business around to meet the demands of the modern consumer. They turned their attention to providing restaurant type cuisine and revamped the rear of the café, which was Mr Capaldi’s ice cream factory into a table service restaurant to cater for private functions, parties and lunch time meals.
DI PAOLO CAFÉ is now run by Giovanni and Christine’s Children: Luigi, Pasquale and their cousin Joseph Di Mascio. Who are taking the family business and its traditions into its fourth generation!
Giovanni and Christine are still very much active within the business, you will often see them on the shop floor serving their regular clientele. But it is up to the next generation to take the business forward. The first step was the new re-fit which was completed Easter 2013. A new shop front complete with Bi-fold doors were installed and the Ice Cream range expanded to 24 Hand Made Artisan Gelati! A new Ice cream production area was built at the back of the building, so the boys can cope with the ever increasing demand. Old cherished Retro pieces have also been kept, like the baby blue original counter Mr Capaldi put in in 1952, to complete a balanced mix of old and new. The boys are enthusiastic about the business and they love what they do.
Just watch this space for any further developments!
Di Paolo Cafe offers a tasty menu featuring the very best in Italian cuisine, classic British dishes and our very own Artisan Gelati, hand-made fresh on the premises!
Locally sourced ingredientsFind Us
We open bright and early serving cooked breakfasts at 8am.
At lunch we provide a two course lunch for £6.95, available all day! (From 11.30am-6.30pm) This includes traditional roasts, home-made pies and various Italian pasta dishes, followed by our Artisan Gelati or a hot dessert.
Fresh fish is also a favourite and because we're right by the seaside, we are able to source it locally. We offer lighter meals such as Italian paninis and a full children’s menu, for those hungry families.
Of course we have our famed, award-winning Gelati, but also offer hot desserts such as home-made apple crumbles and cherry pies.
Nephew Joseph, is our Head Chef and leads our talented kitchen team to provide you with the variety and quality of Italian and traditional English cuisine.
All food is prepared on premises and we always use the freshest ingredients available!
Our cafe/restaurant is ideally located, just a short walk from the seafront, opposite the nationally acclaimed De La Warr Pavilion, which is a popular attraction all year round. You will always find us open, serving throughout the day for pre-theatre and matinee performances.
We are a licensed restaurant serving all day from 8am until 7pm, 7 days a week, all year round (only closed on Christmas and Boxing Day and we close half hour earlier in the winter!).
A separate table service area is available at lunch time for more intimate, relaxed dinning.