South Belfast restaurant in bid to win Best Takeaway in Northern Ireland

Pictured (from left to right): Kristian Nicolo (co-owner), Fabio Nicolo (executive chef) and Stephen Toney (co-owner).
Pictured (from left to right): Kristian Nicolo (co-owner), Fabio Nicolo (executive chef) and Stephen Toney (co-owner).

Nico’s Pizza Pasta, the authentic Italian takeaway in south Belfast, is hoping to cap an amazing year by winning the British Takeaway Awards for the second year in a row.

The staff are encouraging the local community to nominate them and other takeaways in the area for the British Takeaway Awards 2017, which is now open for votes.

Co-owned by Kristian Nicolo, who grew up working in his father’s restaurant in Reggio Calabria in southern Italy, Nico’s Pizza Pasta specialises in traditional Italian fare and prides itself on using family recipes that have been passed down from generations and cooked the traditional way.

It comes as the Andersontown Road eatery beat thousands of other takeaways to scoop the prize for Best Takeaway in Northern Ireland last year.

The judges of the renowned competition, which included Ainsley Harriott and Dragon’s Den’s Sarah Willingham, were impressed by Nico’s authentic dishes and charitable spirit.

The community focused takeaway has also raised thousands of pounds for charities by taking part in fundraising events including bungee jumps and marathons.

The restaurant also sponsors Anthony Cacace, who was a boxer in the British Commonwealth Games this year and donates Christmas hampers to help the local homeless in addition to donating hundreds of pounds worth of vouchers to help customers raise money for their nominated charities.

Kristian explained: “To win the British Takeaway Awards for the second year in a row would end 2017 on a high.

“Over the last 12 months orders have rocketed to around 900 per week and we’ve had to employ six new delivery drivers and two front of house staff to meet demand.

“We’ve also seen more new faces, with some customers travelling from the other side of Belfast to try our award-winning pizza and pasta.

“It’s so rewarding to see such a huge appetite for our food. We’ve got plans to open a third restaurant later this year.

“We want to keep on growing and show the rest of Belfast what we have to offer.”

Kristian, who believes the success of the business is down to the dedicated team of staff, is also continuously looking for ways to refine the menu to offer more delicious authentic Italian dishes and update systems to make things simpler and quicker for customers.

Nico’s are also opening a new store on Belmont Road, which they hope to have up and running over the next few months.

“The success of Nico’s really is down to the loyalty of our fantastic customers and hard work of the staff. I’m a big believer that every role is equally important, whether you’re a head chef or a kitchen porter - you’ve got to keep your staff well looked after.

“Hopefully, the effort we’ve put into the business over the last year will put us in good stead for winning another British Takeaway Award. It has such a huge impact to small, independent businesses like ours - we definitely want to win again.”

The British Takeaway Awards, run in association with Just Eat, aim to recognise and reward the dedication of local takeaway restaurants. The awards celebrate the diverse range of cuisines and the amazing contribution a nation of High Street heroes make to our local communities.

Voting is now open at wthebtas.co.uk and members of the public have until midnight October 1 to nominate their favourite local takeaways. The five takeaways in each region that receive the most votes will be invited to the star-studded awards ceremony at The Savoy in London, where the most celebrated names in the takeaway industry will come together to celebrate the success of Britain’s best independent takeaway businesses.