Popular restaurant, Alberto’s, has closed its doors after 22 years of serving wonderful traditional Italian food to the Hemel community.
After the announcement, a number of the restaurant regulars shared heartfelt messages to the proud Italian owner, Alberto Valota and wife Jacqueline.
Alberto’s opened in Hemel in 1997 and was one of the most popular dinner spots in the town, and customers came from across the country to eat there, including the late Big Brother contestant, Jade Goody.
Alberto said: “I’m retiring because running a restaurant today is not the same as it was 22 years ago, back then it was fun but today there is so much red tape I’m just not enjoying it anymore.
“I’ll miss all the many friends I’ve made over the years and thank them all for their lovely cards and presents.”
Alberto moved to London from Italy in 1969, first as a tailor then as a printer. After that he tried his hand at running a restaurant in St Albans, opening Alberto’s there before transferring to Hemel a few years later.
Recalling on his years of serving everything from frog’s legs to his most popular dish, spaghetti bolognese, he described the opening night as “the best night of my life”.
Hemel resident, Jonathan Culverhouse, said: “When opening in 1997, with his fund of jokes and bonhomie, Alberto and his wife Jacqueline soon established it as the most popular restaurant in town.
“The Old Town will never be the same again.”
Another resident said: “Such sad news but delighted for your retirement Alberto, we had great meals here, thank you for the great food and happy memories.”
Another said: “A very sad day for all your customers, we will miss you but wish you a very happy and well-deserved retirement.”