- Our Story -
“I came to England with two pairs of trousers .”
- Renato Marrocco -
Renato Marrocco married his sweetheart Maria , and in 1962 they moved from their home town of Cassino , Italy to Worthing , England in search of a better life . After working their early days with Maria's Aunt Ellena Forte , in 1966 they started commuting to Brighton and back where they were able to rent their first shop , a cafe on the corner of East street ( now Pitcher & Piano ) , putting in the long hours every day . Along the road in Hove there was a small beach side cafe that had been opened in 1935 called Fortes which was one of the first of many Fortes to open in the U.K. and situated on Kings Esplanade , famous for its summer time gelato as well as snacks served in the booths . Seeing the potential of being the only seafront cafe around at the time they made an offer to rent the place even though they still had a few months left to run in Brighton . October 1969 is the official date that Maria & Renato took over Fortes ( pictured ) and a few months later the Fortes sign was replaced with the now iconic MARROCCO'S ice cream parlour . In the years that followed during the 1970's they made Marrocco's into the only place to get a variety of flavours and before long the famous queue would form outside for the ice creams . Who can forget the summer of 1976 , with a three month heatwave and wall to wall lady birds . As we the kids went to school mum & dad would work all the hours seven days a week with only a brief respite at christmas ( two weeks holiday a year ) . Making ice cream at 4 am was the norm for dad .
The '80's arrived and so did the first attempts to capture the hot food market but at the time mum & dad were not really interested in running a restaurant , just the ice cream and serving tea coffee sandwiches and club biscuits was as far as they wanted to venture . By now Peter & Livia ( us kids ) having been brought up in the 'shop' were finding there feet helping out with mum & dad .
The early '90's saw the introduction of cooked breakfast and a brief attempt to capture the fish & chips market but this soon proved to be a non starter . Egg and chips , Egg bacon & chips ... you get the idea . It wasn't until 1998 after a brief period of Take Away only that Peter decided to open up the cafe again but this time as an italian restaurant . Pizza & pasta were on the menu as well as spaghetti marinara's and bowls of mussels .. Italian wines were served along with the Italian menu and the still famous Ice Cream Sundaes .
Then another mile stone , by 2004 mum and dad had retired and Peter was now running the restaurant with his now grown up children Nico & Giovanna while continuing with it's pasta and pizza and even jacket potato on the menu .
2009 and here started a special period in Marrocco's history , the introduction of table service but more importantly a new Seafood menu including Lobsters ,Crabs ,Sea Bass , Calamari and various seafood specials At first the regulars watched in amazement as the chefs started cooking their elaborate fish dishes and were brought to the tables with gasps followed by the cameras taking photos of these spectacular looking dishes . Had the restaurant finally overshadowed the years of being known only for the ice creams ? Not quiet but they did go amazingly well together as a now complete package .
Renato sadly passed away in November 2014 after a short illness but Maria continues to spend her summers with us and the winters in the warm sunny climes of Tenerife . The Marrocco's family continue to run the Marrocco's where the queues are still the norm on a bright sunny day and as always open every day of the year . Subtle changes here and there but we are still the iconic seafront location serving great italian food and ice creams . Soon we will have reached a major milestone , 2019 will see us having 50 years of trading behind us and we look forward to some major celebrations ... stay tuned for that .
To all those thousands who have visited us over the years and to those kids of the '70's who now bring their own kids of today ... thank you x