“WE both grew up in Italian family kitchens. We often talked about setting up somewhere together, with that kind of Mediterranean feel.”

Sergio Krywycz and Cosimo De Angelis met at primary school, aged four, and have been pals ever since. With each of them having years of experience in restaurants, and a shared love of the Italian cuisine they were reared on, they decided to run a bistro together.

In February 2014 the pair opened Buonissimo Delicatessen in Saltaire, serving freshly cooked Italian dishes. The bistro has just celebrated its 10th anniversary, and Sergio and Cosimo have paid tribute to their many loyal customers.

“Over the past 10 years we’ve had some great times, and then there was the pandemic...but through everything our customers have been there with us,” says Sergio. “They have helped us make Buonissimo Authentic Italian Delicatessen a successful business and a great place for everyone to enjoy.”

The bistro has a relaxed, friendly vibe. Downstairs there’s a dining area and a deli, with shelves of colourful products for sale, imported from Italy, including pasta, sauces and chocolates. “We try and sell something a bit different - authentic Italian produce,” says Cosimo.

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: The deli sells a range of produce imported from ItalyThe deli sells a range of produce imported from Italy (Image: Newsquest)

A mouthwatering display of produce at the counter includes a a variety of Italian and French cheese, cured meats and Italian sausage and freshly baked bread.

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: Like Mama used to make...All the food is freshly cooked Like Mama used to make...All the food is freshly cooked (Image: Newsquest)

Upstairs there’s an al fresco feel, with water trickling from a fountain, bougainvillea hanging from the walls, and a lemon tree. With window shutters and Continental style tables and chairs, it feels like dining on a sun-soaked Mediterranean terrace. Vibrant prints of Italian scenes adorn the walls, and there’s a sofa in the corner where customers can sit and read a paper. The upstairs space is available to hire out for events.

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: There’s an al fresco feel to the bistro upstairs

There are pavement tables outside the bistro too; popular for spring and summer dining or just enjoying a coffee in the sunshine.

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: The deli is popular with locals and tourists in Saltaire

The property is the former Cheese and Chutney deli, which Sergio and Cosimo bought and transformed into a Mediterranean bistro. They serve traditional Italian food, including lasagne and other pasta dishes, pizzas and paninis, as well as bacon sandwiches and BLTs, and Italian blends of coffee.

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: The bistro sells a range of panninis, cakes and coffeeThe bistro sells a range of panninis, cakes and coffee (Image: Newsquest)

“It’s proper Italian food, learned from our mums’ kitchens,” says Sergio. “A passion for Italian cuisine is in every Italian person. Being brought up in an Italian household, watching your mother cook, it just rubs off on you.”

Sergio was born near Naples and came to Bradford aged three. Cosimo is from Benevento, outside Naples. Growing up in Shipley, the pair met at St Walburga’s Primary School in Bradford then went on to Cottingley Manor and St Bede’s in Heaton.

Cosimo has a long history of working in the food and beverage sector; he started his chef apprenticeship in Halifax and went on to run Da Michele’s restaurant in Baildon for eight years with his wife Diane. He was also catering services manager at the Yorkshire Clinic for six years.

Sergio started in the restaurant trade and became restaurant manager roles in various hotels before working in the audio video industry for several years, later returning to the hotel trade.

During the pandemic they operated a takeaway service, and were able to keep open as a shop. “It was really busy, we had a lot of support from local people. There were big queues outside,” says Cosimo.

“We’re very much part of the community here. The regulars know us by name, some come in three or four times a week for breakfast and lunch.

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: Pavement tables and chairs are popular at the bistroPavement tables and chairs are popular at the bistro (Image: Newsquest)

“When we talked about opening somewhere together we wanted to offer that personal touch and Italian family atmosphere, and our customers appreciate that.”

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: The deli is very much part of the Saltaire community The deli is very much part of the Saltaire community (Image: Newsquest)

Everything is cooked on the premises. Cosimo’s wife Diane makes the cakes and she and the couple’s nephew both help out in the deli.

“We’re very busy with take-outs. We have a lot of office workers calling in for sandwiches,” says Sergio. “We also get tourists coming in. With Saltaire being a World Heritage Site, people visit from all over the country; they have a look round then walk up to the top of the village, where we are.”

The property was originally one of the houses that Sir Titus Salt had built for his workers. It has also been a greengrocers. “We think it was a mill foreman’s house originally. It’s nice to be part of the heritage of the village,” says Sergio.

There are several regulars enjoying mid-morning coffee and cake when I visit the bistro. They chat to Cosimo and Sergio like old friends.

The pair still have family in Italy and they go back every year. Buonissimo is their little corner of Italy in Saltaire - blending Mediterranean charm with Victorian heritage.

* Buonissimo Delicatessen, Bingley Road, Saltaire. Open Monday to Saturday. Tel. (01274) 581381. Facebook.com/BuonissimoSaltaire