It’s to be ‘Ciao’ for a southside cafe star

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Flappers were all the rage and Charlie Chaplin was already a massive international movie star in the year the Langside Cafe first opened its doors.

Now, just a little short of its centenary, the couple who run this sparkling exemplar of Italo-Scottish cafe culture have reluctantly decided to sell up and contemplate the quieter life of retirement.

This is simply because Dominic and Sofia Demarco’s three sons already have established careers, and so cannot become a new generation of owners.

However far from being some surviving curiosity of former days the cafe at 33 Langside Place remains a thriving business with a potentially great future ahead of it for some astute and capable new operator.

It is a vibrant icon of community life with a very large and loyal clientele, many of whom have taken to social media to insist that nothing must be changed.

The venue’s attractions are many - fabulous real Italian ice cream, and a full range of Scottish cafe favourites, but also daily dining specials ranging from Chicken Milanese to Italian meatballs.

There’s the time-honoured giant jars of sweeties too - the Soor Plooms, Rhubarb Rock, Cinnamon Balls and all the rest.

Born in an age when, apart from somewhat stuffy tearooms, cafe life had until then been virtually unknown in Glasgow, it has since catered for countless local families and umpteen generations.

Yet despite myriad “new” dining and fast food rivals to contend with over recent years the customer offer which worked to such sublime effect back in the Roaring Twenties is every bit as popular now.

Plenty of new features have come along with the passing of years - for example assorted ice cream flavours, home made scones, home made soup, locally produced honey.

But the cafe is still essentially the same accomplished act that wowed customers back in 1946, when the current ownership’s family involvement effectively began - that is, at the top of its classic game.

Sofia Demarco speaks fondly of her own family association with this distinctly Latin corner of the south side, and - with her mum Paola Raso - keeps the memory of her beloved late dad, Americo, very close to her heart.

These very strong and personal memories are part and parcel of what this splendid local institution is all about.

Sofia said: “We at Langside Cafe are very blessed to have so many wonderful people who are, we feel, not only customers, but like extended family.

“We have watched young babies growing up throughout the years into lovely young people, and as time has gone on even had children themselves.

“They too have continued to bring their families in.

“This is what makes the Langside Cafe so special – it is that feeling of belonging to something from the past, that is familiar and that brings many happy memories.

“We are privileged to be part of that”.

She adds: “On a lighter note we were clearing tables the other night and found this piece of artwork on the plates (see picture of plates) – It certainly brought a smile to our faces.

“Thank you Matilda and Izzie, you are wee stars!”

Meanwhile, the cafe’s many regulars needn’t panic, because while lively interest from prospective buyers is guaranteed the Demarcos won’t sell until they find the “right” buyer – and until that happens the place will be as busy as ever.