A South Tyneside restaurant boss is celebrating after his family business became the Gazette’s Italian Restaurant of the Year.
Pacino’s, in Ocean Road, South Shields, has came out on top in the competition in which asked readers to vote for their favourite Italian restaurant in the borough.
We asked Gazette readers to choose their favourite restaurant from a competitive shortlist.
Readers were invited to vote for their choice before the winner was announced.
The family-run restaurant opened 23 years ago ago - in 1994 - and has gained a large following of loyal customers who return time and time again to enjoy the food and ambiance.
Owner Med Tarom, 45, puts the restaurant’s success down to the a commitment to quality and consistency.
He said: “I am really excited and surprised to have won. “We have been here since 1994, so it has been a long time and we have customers who used to come in with their parents.
“They now continue to come back to us, but with children of their own.
“It is such a popular place, so it means a lot to win.”
He added: “We keep it high quality and people look for quality. “We have been buying ingredients and wine from the same supplier for all these years to ensure quality remains high.”
The restaurant has eight members of staff - some of which have been working there since it opened.
Med used to work in the restaurant as a waiter and part of the kitchen staff before he became the manager in 2008.
He continued: “We have kept the decor the same with the same tables and chairs for all these years. People like the ambiance.
“I am proud to have been given this award and it will be kept behind the bar for people to see.”
The shortlist of contenders in this year’s competition were: Sambuca, Sea Road, South Shields; Bravi, North Street, South Shields; Mambo’s Italiano, St Hilda Street, South Shields; Italia Retro, Stanhope Road, South Shields; Tuscano’s, Winchester Street, South Shields; and Otto Restaurant, Dean Road, South Shields.