AN award-winning fish and chip shop that has been part of the Stockbridge community for more than three decades has fried its last fish supper.
L’Aquila Bianca has closed its doors after 36 years of trading, marking the end of an era for Gerardo Crolla and his family.
It is now being converted into a Domino’s Pizza shop.
Gerardo’s father Agostino, 84, set up the chippy in 1975 after moving to Scotland from Italy in the1950s.
Gerardo, 48, took over the running of the Raeburn Place shop in the late Eighties, although his father still helped out now and again.
Gerardo’s daughter Serena said: “My dad just wants to try different things. He is going to take a wee break and try to do something different.
“It’s sad because he has been there for so long and the customers are so lovely. All our regulars were coming in so upset and giving us cards.
“We have been part of Stockbridge for over 30 years so it’s really sad, but I guess you have to move on.” The 19-year-old added: “My grandad passed the shop down to my dad when he got married to my mum, and they worked in it together.
“My grandad retired but he still came in during the mornings to prepare and he used to come in at night sometimes to close the shop if my dad was out.”
L’Aquila Bianca, which served Italian cuisine as well as fried food, has won a string of top awards over the years, including being voted one of the best fish and chip shops in Scotland in 1996 after coming second in the national contest.
At the time, Gerardo, who started working at the family chip shop as a teenager, put the secret of his success down to “the fish – plain and simple”, but also said that batter was an important element too. In 2003, L’Aquila Bianca was honoured again when it received a top quality award from the Sea Fish Industry Authority.
The shop was judged to have everything from good fish and chips to a team of helpful, friendly staff, high levels of hygiene and good practice in handling and cooking the food being served.
Gerardo received a Quality Award certificate and logo to display in the shop. Serena added: “It’s nice to have those awards and remember it for that.
“I worked there as well a few nights. Because it was a family business we all chipped in.
“I used to go there when I was small sometimes and I would sit in the back with my sister and wait until my mum was finished.”
“It has been a big part of our lives.”