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40 years of excellence


When I first moved down to central Leith in the early 1990s I rented a room on Bernard St. I had few needs, a couple of good places for grub and a couple of pubs - I was a student at that point, working nights as a chef round the Shore area, so late opening was essential.

The Port ‘o’ Leith (wonderful Mary) and the Old Seaman’s Mission (now The Mal) then The Angel, was a sharp and useful introduction to, ahem, ‘all things Leith’. For grub, I’d get up early afternoon and head down to Tower St for breakfast in the mock Tudor cottage frequented by truckers and fly by nights, such as yours truly.

The brightest shining light, my lodestar, was literally and metaphorically Pierinos. On dark winter nights it offered a veritable conversation of light, cutting through Leith’s mercurial weather. Pierino and Lucia were lovely hosts, the fish & chips were (and are) top notch, and I do believe I recall the current multi award winners Adriano and Domenico peeling spuds.

30 years on the same warm light enveloped me and the dog as we walked past Pierinos. The wonderful Andy Chung was bursting his lungs and the place was buzzing, prosecco glasses clinked, pizza boxes flapped, and Stevie the taxi driver told me it was their 40th anniversary and they were raising money for St Columba’s Hospice. With a sense of unease, I realised I had been invited… Mea culpa as ever. Anyhoo, I’m here now on this page.

Papà Pierino, arrived here in 1969 when he was just 19 from a little town between Rome and Naples and worked for a few years before bringing Lucia over and marrying her. They established this business in 1983 with the help of their young family. Initially named The Tally Tower Fish & Chicken Bar after the Martello tower in the Docks, the couple changed the name to Pierinos in the early 1990s.

“My father never forced us into the family business. He gave us the option to do something else if we wanted, but my brother and I have worked here since we were 10 or 11 so it was natural for us. There is a big Italian community in Edinburgh and we all do the same thing, so it felt right for us to continue the tradition. We took over from our parents in 2000, Adriano and I run it with our wives Diana and Tina and all of our kids help, which the customers love.”

Domenico describes his father as a ‘great, hard-working and fair man’ and added that everyone who knew him had a kind word to say. To celebrate the family eatery’s 40th birthday, after opening in 1983, the Crolla’s decided to have a party while also raising money for St Columba’s Hospice.

His sons wanted to honour their father’s memory while giving back to their community. The hospice gave their father incredible palliative care during his last weeks. “Which allowed us to focus on spending time with him and make sure he was comfortable. He wanted to die at home and we are really grateful they made it happen.”

Domenico says that their decision to hold the fundraiser was based on wanting to give back while also celebrating their birthday. They put out an invite on social media and welcomed locals through their doors for a four hour event.

As mentioned earlier, Andy Chung played for diners, a raffle was held and gifts were donated by local businesses. Taking place on December 18 2023, the celebration managed to raise £2,968 through both online and in-store donations while the family donated £4,000 of their own money for the hospice.

“It was both a celebration of the birthday but also a way of giving back to the hospice and the community,” Domenico continued. “It is one thing being good at your job and putting the long hours in but you have to appreciate the community around you and we have had a lot of support.” ■


The Pierinos crew with a heavy cheque for St Columba’s Hospice

On dark winter nights Pierinos windows offers a conversation of light



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