Search

Norwich Weather

Overcast

Overcast

max temp: 7°C

min temp: 5°C

From New York to Norwich – successful fish and chip shop boss Duane Dibartolomeo has embraced our fine city

PUBLISHED: 12:05 16 February 2017 | UPDATED: 14:30 16 February 2017

Duane Dibartolomeo, owner of the Grosvenor Fish Bar. 
Picture: ANTONY KELLY

Duane Dibartolomeo, owner of the Grosvenor Fish Bar. Picture: ANTONY KELLY

Archant Norfolk 2017

He reinvigorated a long-running fish and chip business making it one of the go to places in the quirky Norwich Lanes area. Reporter SOPHIE WYLLIE spoke to Duane Dibartolomeo owner of Grosvenor Fish Bar who is up for a major tourism award.

Duane Dibartolomeo, owner of the Grosvenor Fish Bar. 
Picture: ANTONY KELLYDuane Dibartolomeo, owner of the Grosvenor Fish Bar. Picture: ANTONY KELLY

He credits his welcoming hospitality and creative culinary skills to his parents.

And it is those very skills which have made American-born Grosvenor Fish Bar owner Duane Dibartolomeo one of 10 people across the country shortlisted for a top tourism award.

Mr Dibartolomeo is in the running for the Tourism Superstar prize in this year’s VisitEngland Awards for Excellence.

He said: “I don’t feel I go to work. It is a lot of fun. I liked experimenting with food. When I’m in the restaurant it is like I’m back in my mum’s kitchen.”

Duane Dibartolomeo, owner of the Grosvenor Fish Bar. 
Picture: ANTONY KELLYDuane Dibartolomeo, owner of the Grosvenor Fish Bar. Picture: ANTONY KELLY

But despite his apparent confidence among his staff and customers, Mr Dibartolomeo, 57, is a relative newcomer to the restaurant industry after taking over the fish and chip business in April 2012.

He runs the Grosvenor Fish Bar on Lower Goat Lane with his partner of 14 years Christian Motta, 49, whose parents used to run the business.

Born in Miami, the fish and chip shop owner was one of nine children and started cooking and doing household chores along with his siblings from a young age.

He said: “We took care of each other.”

Mr Dibartolomeo’s mother stayed at home looking after the family and his father was a lawyer.

“My parents always had a welcoming attitude to people who came to our house and that is how I see things in the business. I want people to feel welcome and comfortable.”

He described the nights before Easter and Christmas in his family home surrounded by food and each of the siblings had a signature dish.

His favourite family meal was roasted peppers with sausages.

After studying psychology at the University of Florida in his late teens, he embarked on a career in marketing and advertising for over 25 years.

Despite working in New York with big worldwide companies he lost interest in the industry so he joined forces with his Norwich-born partner Mr Motta in 2002.

The couple set up a furniture design line in New York.

But everything changed when Mr Dibartolomeo went travelling around Europe in 2010.

He said: “Christian told me, ‘If you go to the UK you have to see my parents in Norwich.’ I came to Norwich and from the first minute I was there I knew it was amazing.

“I loved the city because it was so beautiful and quaint but busy. People were kind. Grosvenor Fish Bar was for sale and I wanted that shop.”

It had been a traditional fish and chip restaurant for about 80 years and Mr Motta’s parents had run the business for 35 years.

Speaking about the first time he tasted fish and chips, Mr Dibartolomeo added: “It didn’t taste like fast food. It tasted really good.”

He and his partner took over Grosvenor Fish Bar in April 2012 and spent a year and a half upgrading the basement restaurant area - now called the Bunker because of its unintentional resemblance to an Anderson shelter.

Mr Dibartolomeo said the refurbishment happened “organically” and materials including wood and metal were used because they were inexpensive not because they were fashionable.

He added the batter recipe had not changed for decades and the menu includes traditional fish and chip shop staples to more unusual recipes including steamed cod tacos.

Customers range from people who have been visiting the eatery for several years to families, holidaymakers and people on a night out.

Mr Dibartolomeo said the golden rules for independent restaurants were appreciate residents, being welcoming and serving good honest food.

He was surprised to be nominated for the Tourism Superstar award and enjoyed telling visitors about what Norwich had to offer.

“We are so lucky we ended up in the Norwich Lanes. It is constantly evolving.

“The choice of food on offer in Norwich across the board is good.”

Mr Dibartolomeo added the city, its residents and visitors were supportive of independent restaurants and businesses.

How to vote

The Tourism Superstar category of the 2017 VisitEngland Awards for Excellence celebrates individuals who provide a boost for the tourism industry.

Duane Dibartolomeo is the only shortlisted nominee from East Anglia.

He was nominated by a restaurant customer from Visit Norwich.

The winner is chosen through public votes by visiting www.mirror.co.uk.

Votes are now open and can be cast until Wednesday, March 29.

The winner will be revealed online on April 1 by the Daily Mirror.

It is the sixth year of the awards and a previous winner in 2014 was Buzby Allen, entertainer at Potters Resort in Hopton.

He said: “The best thing about winning was to be recognised when I was just doing my job. It was the most brilliant time of my life and it was such a proud moment when I collected the award in London. The winner is truly in for the most outrageous experience.”

19 comments

  • Always seems to be a lot of weirdos commenting on this site... typical of Norfolk?

    Report this comment

    Velvetfish

    Friday, February 17, 2017

  • "Only one left"? I can think of at least 4 without expending too much effort!

    Report this comment

    PaulWho

    Friday, February 17, 2017

  • Yawn. It's a fish and chip shop, get over it. Only reason it's so popular is that it's the only one left.

    Report this comment

    Only Me

    Friday, February 17, 2017

  • This Guy from New York may be selling good fish and chips, but the Yanks have a lot to learn from the English about this item. It is a fair bet that he has a long long way to go before he is able to better the fish and chips I used to buy as a kid from Mrs Pointer in Sprowston Road in the 1940's. They were finished before I got home, and I lived just a few doors away in Sprowston Road. UP NORWICH. I have been away for a good number of years but NORWICH is, and always will be my HOME.

    Report this comment

    Barry Smith

    Friday, February 17, 2017

  • Moosey - when people come to Norwich and say 'it's a nice place but it's full of moany old gits, who always complain about everything' I'm so glad there are people like you to prove them wrong with your happy go lucky attitude.

    Report this comment

    bassman

    Thursday, February 16, 2017

  • Hmm..... Why don't you guys on here swap numbers so you can argue till the cows come home in private rather than on a web page? Just saying....

    Report this comment

    CityLad

    Wednesday, February 15, 2017

  • Wow, someone is a little fixated. Find something else more worthy to be ticked off with chap.

    Report this comment

    Resident Smith

    Wednesday, February 15, 2017

  • No, it hasn't actually. Why list it for sale at all then? Like I said before anyone can approach any business with an offer if they wish, you don't have to be actively listed on an agents website with full particulars. There is no offer either, it states the exact price he wants either leased or for the freehold.

    Report this comment

    MooseyT20

    Wednesday, February 15, 2017

  • Moosey. I was in there Monday and asked him if it was for sale. "only if someone comes in with a very high offer" was the response. He doesn't particularly want to sell but as Resident Smith says, he would for the right price. Think that has put you in your plaice?

    Report this comment

    Chilly62

    Wednesday, February 15, 2017

  • Business is Business so good luck to him. But as for the award?..............Kiss my hole!

    Report this comment

    rob

    Wednesday, February 15, 2017

  • Moosey - I am a business man. My business is 'always for sale' for the right price. This gentleman is a entrepreneur who buys a business, makes it special and then perhaps wants to move on to another. They thrive on the building of a business. Nothing wrong in that at all. It's his business. You've just never run your own business or never had that much ambition. Chip - Shoulder indeed.

    Report this comment

    Resident Smith

    Wednesday, February 15, 2017

  • @ MooseyT20 sounds like your are either very jealous or have a 'chip' on your shoulder. ;)

    Report this comment

    jane_harmen

    Wednesday, February 15, 2017

  • @Resident Smith Come off it, it's for sale. If anybody wanted to make a ridiculous offer on a shop they walk in and make it. I know you are delusional but see this for what it is.

    Report this comment

    MooseyT20

    Wednesday, February 15, 2017

  • Moosey - Business owners will often list their businesses online with agencies nationally just in case someone out there with a lot of money wants to make the owner an offer they can't refuse. Standard business practice.

    Report this comment

    Resident Smith

    Tuesday, February 14, 2017

  • Why is it For Sale and who would buy it ?

    Report this comment

    Albert Cooper

    Tuesday, February 14, 2017

  • It's always a pleasure going to this fish and chip shop. Not only are the fish and chips the best I have ever tasted, the service is delightful. This is a rare establishment where I feel that the customer really is the priority and it always seems to be done with such ease. They deserve all the recognition they can get.

    Report this comment

    AE

    Tuesday, February 14, 2017

  • We have had fish and chips here and it was delicious! Also recommend the fish shop in Southwold next to W H Smiths.

    Report this comment

    Kerryowner

    Tuesday, February 14, 2017

  • Prefer chips on the market to be honest.

    Report this comment

    rob

    Tuesday, February 14, 2017

  • Why didn't you ask him why it is listed for sale online?

    Report this comment

    MooseyT20

    Tuesday, February 14, 2017

The views expressed in the above comments do not necessarily reflect the views of this site

Most Read

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Most Commented

Digital Edition

cover

Enjoy the Evening News
digital edition

Subscribe
HOT JOBS

Show Job Lists