Your London Legacy loves to catch up with some of the great characters and iconic buildings in our magnificent city, and today’s guest is no exception. Nevio Pellicci Jnr is the third generation of the Pellicci family—who came over to London from Lucca, in Tuscany Italy way back in 1900. Back then Priamo Pellicci and his wife Elide came to London with their son and Priamo took a job in a small café, which he subsequently bought. The café was named E.Pellicci in honour of his wife. When Priamo died of tuberculosis in 1931 Elide raised their seven kids and shaped the business into what it is today; a hand crafted, wood-paneled art deco style café/restaurant, which was Grade II listed in 2005.
Situated in the heart of Bethnal Green Road, East London, E.Pellicci is now run by Mama Maria who is well into her 70s’, as well as her children Nevio and Anna and older cousin Tony, who has worked there for nearly 50 years. Apart from the food, which is a splendid mix of traditional English and Italian fayre, all freshly prepared on the premises, E.Pellicci is more a social club, where all cultures ages and sections of society happily sit across the Formica tables from each other and share their stories. Celebrities drop in from time to time to sample the unique atmosphere, and the Krays used to meet up regularly to hold court. E.Pellicci is a unique place with a special character and in this chat with Nevio you get a real flavour of the stories it holds.
“It’s not just a café to us—or a workplace—it’s like our second home. We were always in here from when we were babies.”[9:40]
We recorded in the back of the cafe by the kitchen – you’ll certainly get a taste of the ambiance of a hip and running café in this episode. There are pictures of the family hung up in the back of Nevio’s grandmother and grandfather—photos taken at a time where it was a pretty big deal to get a whole portrait taken. There are countless stories that have been passed down through the life of the café—including some of his granddad being a bit of a trouble maker—evidenced by a story about how he won a racehorse gambling and clomped it right into the café. The stories stack on top one another, as Nevio is the 3rd generation to run the establishment.[14:40]
“We had a massive fire here in 2000 and we were very lucky because one of our customers saw the smoke coming out the door about ten o’clock at night—a firetruck came down and said if they were ten minutes later we would’ve lost all the wood.”
The fire shut down the restaurant for about eight months which allowed for a renovation of the kitchen—completely gutted and redone. They have more space and organization now and the original wood was able to be saved, keeping the integrity of the café’s lovely art deco styling.[22:20]
People are drawn to E.Pellicci for too many reasons to count. There’s the food, atmosphere, and the personalities that run it—Nevio will introduce different patrons to one another, two of which have gone on to become a couple a year on. It draws in locals, ambulance service workers, lawyers, store holders—it could be anyone.
E.Pellicci embodies the very heart of Your London Legacy, still running three generations down the line, so make sure you stop in, have a bite, enjoy stories of old pranks while making new acquaintances, and soak in a legacy in the making.