THERE is a black and white photograph on the wall of Eusebi’s Glasgow restaurant and deli, which shows the owner hard at work behind the counter, smiling at her father, who is standing just out of shot.

Every time she looks at it, says Giovanna Eusebi, it transports her back in time.

“This is the original wee shop in the east end – we have such an emotional attachment to the place,” she sighs.

“It was tiny – look at how little space we had, with the counter and wine racks behind. We did everything in here, me, mum and dad and a lovely old lady called Maria who retired when she reached 100.

“It was so hands-on – we baked the bread, cleaned the floors. I brought up my kids in that shop.”

She adds: “When we moved up here last year, we didn’t sell it. We knew we had outgrown the space, but also that we couldn’t possibly close it.”

‘Here’ is the beautiful restaurant, with its distinctive red canopies, on Park Road in Glasgow’s leafy Woodlands district, at the other end of the city from where the Eusebi’s story began.

Eusebi’s father Eddie was born in the east end, where his parents and grandparents – who had come to Scotland from Italy in 1910 – ran the Rendezvous Café.

He opened his own fruit shop and deli, selling “exotic” items like peppers, mushrooms and olive oils.

“It was very different at the time,” smiles Eusebi. “As the business grew, my mum realised there was an opportunity, and started to cook meals, like pasta dishes, for people to take home.”

She adds: “My dad’s side of the family were the shopkeepers – they ran the ice cream shops, survived the Second World War in Glasgow, through some very tough times for them.

“My mother’s side were farmers – courageous, creative farmers in the old fashioned way, who harvested by the sun and moon and tides. There were no clocks.

“I used to visit them in Italy, at Castleforte, spending summers picking tomatoes to preserve for the winter.”

Eusebi recalls her grandparents’ respect for the food they grew.

“Every ingredient was sacred,” she says, warmly. “They used every bit of it and if, say, they really had to throw away a piece of bread, they would kiss it first and apologise for throwing away the sacred grains.

“I am really inspired by them. They taught me that eating was classless – it was nothing to do with how rich or how poor you were, it was about sitting around a table with your family.”

Eusebi’s mother, Gina, moved to Lyon when she was 13, and as a result, the family grew up with a love of French food too.

“I love the way the French cook and eat – shopping from markets, everything fresh, and cooking from the heart,” she says. “It is spontaneous.”

Eusebi grew up in the east end with her parents and two brothers, Eddie, who runs the business with her, and Rico.

“Rico’s heart is also in food – how could it not be, when he is part of this family?” she laughs. “Food has always been the fabric of my life.”

She studied Italian and marketing at the University of Strathclyde, before travelling the world with British Airways for ten years.

“I was always the one coming back from shopping trips with bags of food, while everyone else stocked up on perfumes,” she smiles.

She spent a month travelling with friends in Mexico, a hair-raising few weeks, when she was 26.

“We had no map, no phone and got held up and robbed at gun point,” she says, calmly. “We started the trip staying in expensive hotels, and ended up sleeping in a doss-house.

“I have always loved to travel, but I’m not interested in travel agent trips – I don’t like touristy things, I’d rather see the real places and people.

“It’s the same with food. We could have done tourist Italian food here, when we opened the restaurant, served up spaghetti bolognaise rather than taking a chance. But it’s not us – we don’t eat that. It’s not real.”

It is a subject Eusebi returns to again and again throughout the conversation.

“Everything is fake, in today’s world – fake news, fake politicians, fake food,” she frowns. “Food especially, is so processed nowadays, how has that been allowed to happen?

“We have always wanted to stay true to who we are.

“I take staff training very seriously, send my chefs to Italy – people matter to me. I’m very proud of my staff. They understand why we use the best tomatoes, the finest oils.”

She pauses.

“All of that comes from my dad who was a great cook,” she says. “He took his time, always used quality ingredients.

“I loved working with him – we were great friends. Every single day, we were in the deli together, and it never felt like work.”

Eddie Eusebi Senior died more than a decade ago and his loss was felt keenly, not just by his family, but by the wider east end community.

“Everyone knew the family, of course,” smiles Eusebi. “We grew up in the east end, and there was rough and smooth. We belonged there and everyone supported us.

“It’s why we want to keep the original premises – we are turning it into a bakery to supply the restaurant.”

She adds hastily: “It won’t be a shop, though – more of a laboratory for the restaurant, as we bake all our own breads and cakes and space is an issue.”

The family’s ties to the east end remain strong and Eusebi has fond memories of her childhood.

“We were slightly odd – we’d go on a picnic and mum would be pulling off the tops of dandelions and turnips for us to eat, or she’d send us to school with meatballs and frittata in our lunchboxes.”

She adds: “Food was pure and clean. I read somewhere there is now a waiting list for the allotments in the east end, which is fantastic. I know it’s not an easy thing to do, for people to feed their families.

“My grandparents were poor too, but they ate well.

Euseibi adds: “Crusade is the wrong word, but yes, I want to fight against the idea that all food has to be cheap and processed and fake.

“I want people to come out of their comfort zone, try new, good food which is fresh and seasonal.

“My mother was selling beautiful, home-cooked pasta dishes on Shettleston Road for the same price as a fish supper.”

As well as importing many ingredients from Italy, Eusebi is committed to a range of Scottish suppliers.

“Scottish produce is wonderful – seafood, butter and cheeses – there are some fantastic local artisan producers and that’s good to see,” she explains.

“Provenance matters to people. More and more, they want to know where their food comes from, and they aspire to better. I like that, it’s very refreshing.”

She smiles: “We are obsessed with food. I see people, taking photographs of our dishes and that’s fine. I like the idea people want to share.

“Opening the restaurant has been a steep learning curve for us – it’s a work in progress, still, and always will be.

“My motto is just to do what I’m doing, but keep doing it better.”

Eusebi’s son Rico, who is 18, and eight-year-old daughter Sofia, and her twin nieces, who are 21, are already being inspired by their parents’ love of food and the business.

“My eight-year-old, especially, is very switched on,” smiles Eusebi. “It is hard – but it shouldn’t appear so to our customers, of course. If it all looks glamorous and easy, then we are doing our jobs properly. They don’t see the all-night cleaning and fixing broken tiles, or replacing lightbulbs.

“The restaurant has been a new challenge for us but we have surrounded ourselves with people who know what they are doing.”

It took a long time for the Park Road premises to get up and running. At times, says Eusebi, it seemed it might not happen at all.

“There were so many obstacles in our way, so little understanding of what we were trying to do,” she shakes her head. “I was worried, for the 45 people who work for me. I thought we were going to lose everything. But we picked ourselves up. My brother Eddie is my strength, he got us through it.

And throughout it all, she says, always in her heart and mind are her grandparents.

“My grandmothers, Giovanna and Nonna Maria, are my inspiration,” she says.

“Giovanna, because she was a woman in a man’s world, fearless in business; and Nonna Maria, because of the passion behind everything she put on a plate, her love of nature, her love for her family.”

She adds: “That is what I hope you get in here – that you leave feeling a little bit loved.”

She stops, looking back at the black and white photograph.

“And I can’t be a fake. It’s my name above the door, and that name means so much to me.

“I could never be a fraud.”


Favourite music: I love everything, from opera to the Rolling Stones, via R&B and AC/DC.

Last book read: If I Could Tell You Just One Thing, a compilation of advice from well-known people. It’s inspirational.

Favourite film: Il Postino.

Career low: Our journey to this shop.

Career high: Watching people enjoying our food, leaving happy.

Best trait: My independence.

Worst trait: I am not a morning person.

Best piece of advice: It was from my dad, who always said: “Sleep on it.”

Ideal dinner guests: My dad, my grandmothers. I wish I could have dinner with them again.

Buratta, Pea Gazpacho, Vignarola Salad by Giovanna Eusebi

Serves 2

1 buratta left at room temperature for 30 minutes


Pea Gazpacho

100g fresh peas

15ml extra virgin olive oil

Zest of 1\2 a lemon

10 mint leaves

Salt and pepper


Blitz all the ingredients together until smooth, then chill.


Vignarola salad

All vegetables are to be raw:

2 spears of asparagus, thinly sliced length ways

30g sugar snap peas sliced in half to reveal the pods

30g garden peas

1 candy beetroot shaved on the mandolin

Small handful of pea shoots

6 mint leaves, half kept whole, the other half torn

extra virgin olive oil

lemon juice

Salt and pepper


Mix all the ingredients in a bowl and dress with the olive oil, lemon juice and season. In a separate bowl, place the buratta off centre, spoon the gazpacho to the side then carefully place the Vignarola beside the buratta. Finish with a drizzle of olive oil, a few Maldon salt crystals and a grind of pepper.