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Italian restaurant Fratelli’s on Bond Street is no more…and in its place is a brand new “Italian fast food” venue. Pepe Nero, which opened on November 12th, sells a range of specialities from Puglia to eat in or take away.

The business is the brainchild of Salvatore Persano and Roberto de Robertis, who first met back home in Italy. Salvatore used to run a kitchen design business in Lecce, and one day had a man visit his shop who owned a similar kitchen business in Bristol. After becoming friends and visiting Bristol a few times, he decided to move here and always had something like Pepe Nero at the back of his mind. Two years ago, he was introduced to Roberto – who still lived back in Lecce, but also had the same dream. After having tried to set up a similar business two years ago, Salvatore contacted Roberto earlier this year (who by then was running a cafe in the same style back in Lecce), and the pair decided to set up Pepe Nero.

Serving pizza, calzone, tramezzini, panini and more, Pepe Nero’s bread and dough is all made in house and freshly baked on the day on which it is sold. There’s a vast amount of choice on their counter, and at very reasonable prices: I was swayed by a fried calzone with mozzarella and tomato (£1.80) and a “Rustico” pastry containing broccoli and cheese for £1.50 – generous portions, and tasting very fresh indeed. Sandwiches are huge and priced at around £3.20, with fillings such as spinach, gorgonzola and stracchino; breaded chicken, mozzarella and mayo; and broccoli, Philadelphia and gorgonzola – as well as plenty of Parma ham and other meat-based options –  available on the day that I visited.

You’ll also find a selection of Italian cakes and pastries, including cannoli – perfect with a morning coffee! Food and drink is available to take away or to eat in, in their 40 seat dining area upstairs.

Salvatore and Roberto have further plans for the future, including office deliveries and “party boxes” to take home. Judging by the number of people who stopped to buy lunch to take away while I was inside and the quality of the food that I tried, Pepe Nero is going to be a great success…and definitely a refreshing difference to the chain fast food venues in the area!

Roberto (right) and Mirko


Find Pepe Nero on the Bristol Bites Directory…

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