WE asked for your memories of Bradford’s Italia Cafe - and hundreds of you have been getting in touch with fond recollections of the family business.

Opened in the late 1960s by a family of Italian immigrants, the Great Horton cafe became a much-loved venue. A short walk from the University of Bradford, it was a popular student haunt but its blend of home-cooked food, friendly service and relaxed vibe attracted a varied clientele, from lorry drivers to young families to local bands. You could walk in there for a hearty serving of lasagne and chips and expect to see New Model Army and Terrorvision sitting around a table.

Poet and comic John Hegley recalls the Italia from his Bradford student days, and acts appearing at the university, including Ian Dury, often went there. Terrorvision frontman Tony Wright wrote a song about the Italia and Game of Thrones actor Enzo Cilenti’s worked there as a teenager - his grandparents, Vincenzo and Donatella Cilenti owned the cafe.

Bradford Telegraph and Argus:

The Italia Cafe in Great Horton - much missed by many Bradfordians

The Italia closed in 2003, after 35 years. “Bradford has never been the same without the Italia,” commented Michael Barraclough on Facebook. “The stew was fabulous, as were all the staff.”

We’ve had lovely memories flooding in, recalling many a cooked breakfast and the Italia’s legendary stew. Romances were sparked over the Italia’s tables, and creative ideas hatched there. Here are some of your memories of the beloved Bradford cafe:

Rughead: “Used to call regularly, the spicy Italian stew was my favourite, good grub and not too expensive, usually a load of students in. Nice memories, shame it closed.”

Sarah Dawson: “I met my first husband there. He was in a band and hung out there so he could talk to the New Model Army guys. We got talking over mugs of tea and big piles of spaghetti. Very romantic!”

Rose Kinsella: "It was a meeting place for us young teenagers in the early 70s as long as we weren’t too rowdy we could hang out in there. Play table football and pinball. Good memories."

Steve Palmer: "We were at Bradford University from 1982-1985. Our student house in Summerseat Place was a few yards from the Italia. So we were more than regulars. I lived in that house with the woman who became my wife. We went travelling after university but visited again in 1988. As the waiter brought my wife's meal, he stopped before putting the plate down. She asked if everything was OK and he replied: "It's just that you used to have eggs, chip and beans, not eggs, chips and peas". They offered such personal service that they remembered people's preferences years later. I was in Bradford in February this year and visited the house. Despite knowing that the Italia closed many years ago, it still doesn't feel right that it isn't there any more."

Bob Wilkes: "I have very fond memories of the Italia from my days as a Bradford uni student in the early 80s. In my first year, from 1980/81, I lived in a uni house in Summerseat Place, about five doors down. I remember going on my first week, just short of 40 years ago, and steak pie, chips and beans (or peas) cost 47p.

When we did our finals we gave up on cooking for a few weeks and went there for dinner every night, steadily making our way through the menu."

City Boy 5705: “I used to order egg, bacon, sausage and beans. The woman used to say that she didn’t know how I’d eat it without it falling apart. I’d say that I’d worry about that! Delicious.”

Wolford666: “Part of the fun was one of the family taking your order at the counter while speaking in a Bradford accent, then shouting it over to the kitchen in expressive Italian.”

Bradford novelist, poet and artist Joolz Denby said: “The Italia was by far and away the best cafe Bradford ever had. Beautiful home-cooked food - with produce like rocket grown in the garden - from a spotless kitchen and a tremendous sense of kindness and community. The Italia is still sorely missed - personally I was absolutely gutted when it closed, not just for the food, but because I’d never see the wonderful people, owners, waiters and patrons, again.”

Anne McGee tweeted: “What a place! Amazing food and great atmosphere in a no-frills cafe. Loved the penne arrabiata and putting the world to rights...Great days.”

Bradford Council chief executive Kersten England tweeted: “A Bradford institution. Most Fridays penne arrabiata at the Italia was our end of week treat. The Cilenti family knew all my kids from babies.”

Andrew McDonald: “I was a young apprentice at H Mittons on Dirkhill Road, I had the job of getting the morning sandwiches, there was a track that ran parallel with the old rail track to the cafe from Mittons. The Italian couple that owned the cafe were lovely, the lady always gave me a Tom dip whilst I waited....happy days indeed.”

Stephen Wood: “Me and my mate Paul Rae used to go there Saturday lunchtime for pizza and chips before going into town to buy records from Vallances or Pearsons!”

Corine Campbell: “Me and my sister used to take our children there after school for a treat sometimes. Used to go for breakfast on a Saturday. So many happy memories of that place.”

Andy Firth: “Remember it well, used to really get a great Xmas dinner.”

Cath Marsland: “Best place for good cheap home cooked food, kept me fed during student days!”

Mick Holian: “Oh Yes! Lasagna, Mushrooms & Chips, that awesome thick bread n butter and a large mug of tea...£1.20 if my memory serves me right? Frequented 1981 to 1988. Happy Days.”

Paul Shepherd: “Italian stew and bread on a Saturday, do a half work day at fast car clinic, finish at 1pm then go for some stew. Life seemed less complicated then.”

Janet Fox: “Full breakfast with extra mushrooms in a giant flat cake - perfect remedy for a hangover.”

Anna Boden: “Used it as a student and when I started work. The family treated regulars like family.”

Helen Bowman: “Loved it. A group of us went most Friday evenings. There’s a photo of us somewhere all outside on the last ever Friday. A grand family business and great food. Often groups of Bradford Uni alumni in there reminiscing.”

Tim Wheeler: “A brilliant cafe and meeting place...loads of plans hatched there.”

Jess Byrne: “Italia was a landmark. Took my kids there in 70s - they still talk about it. Best cafe ever!”

Here we share pictures of some other old Bradford cafes. Do you remember them?

Bradford Telegraph and Argus:

The Acropolis cafe at the corner of Market Street in Bradford

Bradford Telegraph and Argus:

El Greco, pictured in 1968

Bradford Telegraph and Argus:

Fountains cafe (in John Street Market, 1971) has appeared in TV drama The Great Train Robbery and films such as Funny Cow, starring Maxine Peake

Bradford Telegraph and Argus:

Tucking in at Pie Toms in Rawson Market. Picture: JPG Gallery

Bradford Telegraph and Argus:

The family-run Truly Scrumptious cafe in 1971

Bradford Telegraph and Argus:

Playing chess at the Central Cafe, Sunbridge Road, 1960