Thursday, 12 November 2009

In A Piccolo


Caffe Piccolo has gone into liquidation and closed its restaurant in Worcester Park with immediate effect.

Given the cavernous size of the place and the pitiful numbers they managed to draw in of an evening, its closure was sadly inevitable.

Perhaps Cafe Piccolo might have survived were it not for the corporate might and heavy discounting of 'Pizza Express' across the road.

Then there was the arrival of Worcester Park's fourth Italian restaurant 'Bellini', which opened just a few days ago, threatening to dilute the market for Italian food even further.

Now we are left with yet another vacant unit - and a very hard one to fill, given it's size. Sad proof that the recession is far from over.

33 COMMENTS (Add Yours Now!):

monkeygirl said...

Goodbye Piccolos, and goodbye my favourite dish, linguine con gamberoni.

And it's goodbye from him, Super Mario Manager

young buck said...

my son will miss their kids menu and thier kindness. It was a great place to take a small child.

coffee man said...

Shame ,it was a great place to eat in.Staff always helpful and attentive.Food was good too.

minigee said...

That's a pity. We preferred it to PE across the road (although we like that too) as it had more variety on the menu. We always found it family friendly, good service, nice food, but we often found ourselves eating there with only two or three other tables busy. There are other branches, Esher and Chiswick are the ones I can remember, are they doing OK or has the whole group gone under.

RecessionDepression said...

Such a shame

Piccolo was the first restaurant we tried when we moved to WP. Then we tried Silks. Now both have disappeared from the menu. I'm sure there isn't a pattern but will not try Bellini for a while just in case.

Seriously. It's a damn shame that this has closed. It was a huge space to fill with hungry eaters but I remember having to wait for a table once as it was so busy and popular. How times changed quickly.

WP high street is fast becoming like a ghost town.

:(

Sebastian said...

Although I have not been to Piccolo's in a while, I went quite a few times last year and I always remember the food being good in there and relatively busy. It is a shame to see it go and I wasn't aware that Silks had gone as well! Shame.

Jacey said...

Have to say its been ages since I've eaten-in (lack of money I'm afraid) but WP restaurants/take-aways seem really busy in evenings. I think we're pretty lucky to have such a good choice. Long way from a ghost town thank goodness.
Have heard many good things abou RyanGate so I'm looking forward to trying there when it reopens.

Celery Man said...

It is a real shame that Piccolo's has disappeared as they did at least make a genuine effort and offered discounted lunch menus and rasonable kids prices. I also recall that they enticed new customers when they opened with complimentary wine and at least attempted to operate with as high a profile as possible (balloons on opening etc).

However...as for Bellini's? Are they attempting to become the shortest lived venture ever to open and then close in KT4 with no enticements to try them out on offer(despite the competition and ongoing recession) and no grand opening? Does make you wonder if the people opening new businesses have any clue whatsoever on how to atually run a successful enterprise. I fear not.

Stuart said...

Only went to Piccolo's once and there was a reason for that. Service was awful - place only had about 2 other tables in, food arrived cold and the waiter had really bad BO.

Anonymous said...

Can anyone remember which outlet occupied the space before Piccolo's?

Local Observer said...

Celery Man - I agree with you, though didn't they offer free wine as they opened before an license was granted? Can't recall.

Also agree that there has been no promotion for Bellini's. No leaflet drop. No newspaper ad with perhaps a discount offer. No exciting fanfares. Nothing to entice me in. The menu on laminated A4 paper stuck in the window does unfortunately put me off anyway with the prices too high and not very extensive offerings.

I think RecessionDepression was commenting on the ghost town being that we have almost as many closed/empty units as open ones. And with most of the open ones being either hairdressers or charity shops, there isnt the draw for people to come. The town needs a better range of shopping and dining experience. Also with the main eat-in restaurants being Italian/Indian There isnt a lot of choice.

Andrew said...

Have to say it is a shame when any new-ish enterprise shuts down, but in general i'd say theres usually a reason for it. I hadn't heard that many rave reviews about Piccolo, so am not really that surprised to hear its closed.

As for Bellini, couldn't agree more. Ive gone up and down the high street loads over the last few weeks, and couldn't tell the difference between it being open now, and when it was being refurbished a couple of weeks back. If the proprietor really is the person who wrote to the blog asking for residents opinions of a restaurant, then they clearly haven't paid the slightest bit of attention. And judging by the lack of customers ive seen in there, i'd say its heading the same way as piccolo. Unfortunate, yes, but running a business is hard work, and takes effort and innovation, cant see either of these going on in the 4th Italian restaurant, (now the 3rd), on the 300yrd high street. I mean, it's about 4 shops down from another bloody Italian thats just closed down, and across the road from yet another! Craziness

We need something different and enticing for people to visit, not just people living within a few hundred meters, but people from other towns! I really don't see how opening a new Italian/Indian/Chinese restaurant was ever going to be a good idea.

Anywhooooo what do i know!

Worcester Park said...

LocalObserver - there was an advert for Bellinis in the Sutton Guardian, but not many people receive that in Worcester Park as deliveries are very hit and miss.

Anonymous - Cafe Piccolo was formed from three empty shop units - one used to be 'Classic Cuts' (barbers) and the middle unit was 'Spinning Wheel' (which I'm told used to be a material shop - no doubt driven under by cutthroat competition from Broadway Bargains).

I can't see anyone wanting to take on a unit the size of Piccolos.

Perhaps it will be split back into two or three units.

LocalShopForLocalPeople said...

I'm not entirely sure it's a restaurant that is needed at all.

I know there has been a lot of debate on other threads about this so sorry to hijack, but how about a fishmongers? there isn't one of those.

Shouldnt there have been some form of ruling or discussion within the trading association or council over what businesses should be allowed to setup on our high street? i'm sure ANY commercial venture is better than an empty unit, but who said it would be ok to open all the hairdressers, and who said fine, we'll have another italian restaurant? is there no plan for what would draw in the shoppers and entice the local public?

Any well planned town high street should have a broad range of businesses.

Noble Savage said...

Oh please, not a fishmongers. The smell on Washington Road would be nauseating!

That's my selfish opinion, anyway.

Worcester Park said...

Surely your 'shellfish opinion', Noble Savage? Oh, my sides...

Coffee Man said...

The Piccolo in WP was one of 8 in a 'chain'. Apparently 3 have closed including WP, as they had a different owner to the remaining 5 (Franchise ?)

So if you hold a Piccolo loyalty card .It is still valid in the remaining branches .

Anonymous said...

PICOLLO USED TO BE A NET CURTAIN SHOP
A SMALL BARBERS
AND A OFF LICENCE.

NO SHORTAGE OF HAIRDRESSERS, BUT DIVERSE INDEPENDANTS LIKE THE NET CURTAIN SHOP/OFFY WE COULd DO WITH,

GrinAndBearIt said...

Apparently they have Salsa classes in the Basingstoke branch. www.caffepiccolo.co.uk -Not really adding to this thread but thought i'd share!

I hope the unit isnt empty for too long (to challenge druy & Cole's record) and someone makes a go of a new business there whatever it may be.

Ah well.

BenjyP said...

The offy was rubbish and overpriced unlike the awesome one at the bottom of the high street. Simple supply and demand, I can't speak for the net shop though, maybe it couldn't cope with the prices of broadway baragains which haven't changed since 1987

Spaghetti Western said...

I'd eat in Bellini's if the prices were a little cheaper and the menu more extensive. There also never seems to be anyone in there as yet. Not really enticing. Maybe a festive offer to get the diners in?

Conversely, La Mama at the bottom of the high street always seems to have tables full. I didn't have a great meal in there there once but may try it again. They must be doing something right. It's a change from using the vouchers in Pizza Express.

Shame Piccolo's died. I guess this town ain't big enough for them all.

Cook With Mother said...

Last year we booked a Christmas eve meal at Silks, only to turn up to a closed sign and locked door. We went and had a superb meal in Piccolos instead. it was busy but we were found a lovely table after a few minutes. Sadly now that has gone, but I doubt we'll be booking to eat at Bellini's though this festive season just in case!

I remember the M&S foods place next to the Midas (T)ouch. If that was still going that would be heaven. We tend to cook at home most days out of week anyway.

Mark Spencer said...

This is not just food. This is Marks & Spencer food.

YES Bring it back!

;)

Hotspur said...

There's no shame nor surprise at the demise of Piccolo. The food was sparse, dear and unimaginitive. The service even worse. What is a shame is that a terrific concept and opportunity went begging..

David said...

My young son really liked Piccolo and the staff were always pleasant and friendly towards us and him. Very sad it is gone.

Alex said...

With a Pizza Express in WP and a regular supply of half-price vouchers on-line, it's difficult to see how anyone else can compete or even come close to competing on price.

Whether you eat at the most or least expensive eatery, your meal will just as surely be ruined by a child screaming at 200 decibels and their self-centred parents, who regard a restaurant and a crèche as one and the same.

Given the choice, I'd rather have a £5 pizza ruined than a £50 gourmet meal, even when selected from the most exotic menu.

So what about a WP restaurant for adults only? Or at least one that doesn't stand for any lack of parental control.

Anonymous said...

We only visited Piccolo once. It was not long after it opened at 20:30. It was rammed full of screaming kids, running around to the general iritation of those wanting to enjoy a more civilised experience. The tiled floors made it cold and noisey.

Food was decent enough, and the service was ok, but the kindergarten clientele sadly spoiled it for us.

FFC said...

I'd been to Piccolo's a few times with my family and found the meals and atmosphere very nice, albeit, a tad pricey. How about opening a good ole fashioned 'Pie n Mash' shop, lovely.........

Anonymous said...

Jane W said.....
I recently visited the new Bellini's Restaurant in Worcester Park and have to say the whole experience was most enjoyable. I was welcomed by friendly and efficient staff and was impressed with the restaurant's image. The meal was extremely tasty and compared favourably to any top class restaurant I have been to. They do an excellent value for money xmas menu and I was so impressed that I have booked my company's xmas party there in 2 weeks time for 50 people. This restaurant will do well in Worcester Park as it stands out from the rest with regards to quality which sadly lacks in other restauarnts on the high street.

Chris A said...

I have visited Bellini's twice now, once for a meal with friends and another time for tapas/ "pickies" (as they call them) and a drink. On both occasions the food was excellent and the staff very friendly. I would definately recommend it.
Incidentally I spoke to the new owner about their opening he said that they decided to go for a "Soft Launch" to enable the new staff to settle in and therefore be able to offer a good service when trade picked up.

Anonymous said...

I think Bellini is fab! The food is fantastic, will definitely go back there.

With regards to Cafe Piccolo, the food was nice but the place is too big for worcester park, as far as I saw they never seemed to fill it. Definitely think that place should be split into 3 shops again and would love to see a fishmongers there and please NO MORE charity shops!

Anonymous said...

That restaurant was a bit of a misnomer. Doesn't piccolo mean 'small' in Italian?

We certainly don't need anymore eateries or hairdressers in WPark.
How about something useful in a recession like a genuine 99p shop? But it would have to be a genuine one with everything at 99p. I'm sure it would do well in these hard economic times. There are two in Sutton and they are always extremely busy.

Anonymous said...

When I went past on the bus today, it looked like they were refurbishing this place ready to open as ... an Italian restaurant!

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