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Authentic gelateria to serve up Italian ice cream in Durham after cafe shuts

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Work has begun on Belli e Brutti – which translates from Italian as ‘beautiful and ugly’, and comes from the phrase ‘ciao a tutti, belli e brutti’. 

The Italian ice cream shop takes over the former Hatter’s unit, which closed in autumn of 2023. The tearoom and bakery, well known for its intricate bakes and quirky look, closed after years of tenure on Durham city centre’s Saddler Street. 

The prime location was snapped up by Belli e Brutti owners from property surveyors Lofthouse and Partners last October. 

On their Facebook page, Belli e Brutti said: “Experience Rome’s finest at out gelateria and cafe. Indulge in authentic Italian gelato, rich coffee, savoury pizza, and delightful cakes. 

“Embrace the taste of Italy with every bite and sip.”

According to Lofthouse and Partners, the unit at 51 Saddler Street, on Durham’s peninsula, received 10 offers from 22 interested parties, and was under offer only days after being listed. Brochures from the agents showed it is to be rented for £12,000 pax (per annum exclusive). 

This high interest is a positive sign for Durham High Street. There were concerns that it would not bounce back after the pandemic when large brands such as Bill’s and Yorkshire Trading Company left the city. 

But the last year has seen a thriving independent retail and leisure scene growing, with new openings, like Happiness 2, Manakeet, and Kokoro attracting and retaining visitors.  

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The premises are advertised as “well-presented” and “centrally positioned in the heart of Durham city”, a prime spot for trade with tourists and students in the beautiful university town. 

Located in a grade 2 listed building, the property is split across two floors, giving tenants access to 683 square feet. 

The lease is available for a minimum of three years, with three yearly rent reviews. 

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