Food & Drink
40th anniversary for family-run Wirral restauarant that’s ‘like eating at a friend’s house’
1 month ago
One of Merseyside’s oldest family restaurants is celebrating its 40th anniversary this weekend with three generations and customers who have become friends.
Lino’s in Hoylake was started by husband and wife team Lino and Barbara Galantini back in 1983, with their son Enrico as a teenage commis chef.
He took over running the business 25 years ago after the couple retired and now has his own son and daughter, Emilio and Talia, helping out.
Four decades on, Lino’s is still one of the best-loved restaurants in Wirral and owner Enrico says that’s down to two things: the quality of the food and the way guests are looked after.
“We do actually live above the restaurant and we treat customers as if they were coming into our home, as part of our extended family,” he says. “We’re not a restaurant with nameless people they don’t know; they know me and my maître d’ and we have many regular customers who have been coming here year after year which is important.
“We want it to be like going to have dinner at a friend’s house.
“A lot of customers first came here when my mum and dad opened the restaurant, they’ve carried on coming and their children are still coming now. They’re familiar to us and we know little things like what they like to drink, so they don’t need to ask, it’s there for them.”
For Enrico, Lino’s has been a big part of his whole adult life, but his love of cooking began even before that.
His father Lino is originally from the beautiful Cinque Terre region of Italy and met his mother Barbara after coming to England to study at catering college. Their first restaurant was The Cottage Loaf in Thurstaston which they ran for Whitbread’s in the 60s and 70s.
Barbara was the chef and Lino worked front of house, and it was there that Enrico developed his passion for food.
“I always cooked at home alongside my mum, and she was with me in the kitchen when I started as a 17-year-old at the Cottage Loaf and then at Lino’s. She was my inspiration and before that was my grandmother, my dad’s mum in Italy, was the inspiration for my mum. She taught her all the basics of Italian food.
“I went into being a chef not really knowing what I wanted to do and just grew into it. I found a love for it through television, books and now the internet, and I really enjoy finding new recipes and expanding what used to be a Mediterranean and French menu to have dishes from all round the world.”
Enrico has been running Lino’s for the past quarter of a century since his father had a stroke and had to stop working and his mother retired to help look after him.
The couple are now both in their 80s, but they haven’t stepped back from the restaurant altogether.
“I still have a bit of guidance from my parents who come in about once a week and make sure everything’s being done as it should be,” says Enrico.
Barbara’s influence is evident on the current set dinner menu too, where a dish she created 40 years ago is as popular as ever.
“Avocado Barbara is one of our starters and it’s named after my mum who invented it – it’s a skinned avocado which is stuffed with prawns, then egg washed, breadcrumbed and deep fried,” explains Enrico.
“I’ve noticed a few chefs doing deep-fried avocado now on TikTok but thanks to my mum we’ve been doing it for 40 years!”