October 20 2014 Latest news:
Saturday, August 23, 2014
An iconic ice cream parlour that has sold Italian gelato to families in Camden for generations has been saved from forever disappearing under a pile of rubble as its home of more than 80 years looks set to be bulldozed.
Marine Ices, which has been at the foot of Haverstock Hill in Chalk Farm since 1931, is moving out of the ship-like building that lent the business its name as new owners of the property look set to redevelop the site.
The parlour will re-open this weekend 300 yards along the same road on the corner of aptly-named Old Dairy Mews. The move represents another chapter in the company’s long history.
Its ice cream has been beloved by children and adults alike since Gaetano Mansi first brought his recipes to Camden from Italy in the 1900s.
Originally a grocer in Drummond Street, Euston, he turned his hand to making sorbets with unused fruit and eventually opened up Mansi’s Cafe on the current Haverstock Hill site in 1931.
Different generations of the Mansi family ran the business at the same site until 2012, when the ice cream business was sold to fellow ice cream making family the Myatts and Ponti’s restaurant group took over running the Chalk Farm restaurant.
The Mansi family has now sold the building and Ponti’s said it is believed it will be knocked down.
But current managing director of Marine Ices, Paul Myatt, says he is using the opportunity to create a new parlour that takes the business “back to its roots”.
“We recognise just how popular Marine Ices is in Camden – it’s been part of the community since the 1930s – and so many people who have been visiting the parlour since their childhood now bring their children,” he said.
“So when we heard the original parlour was going to close we felt we had to step in to save this much-loved institution.
“Our simple ambition is to ensure that north Londoners can continue to enjoy founder Gaetano Mansi`s fabulous ice cream. Ice cream is about childhood memories – and we want to continue making them for many years.”
Old photos removed during the Ponti’s takeover will return to the walls of the new premises, while the selling of pasta and lasagne will make way for sundaes, milkshakes and coffee.
The company’s signature gelato and sorbets will also still be sold, with staff who used to work for the Mansis being employed.
The parlour will have seating for 40 on the ground and first floors, with plans to construct a leafy roof terrace in spring next year. It will officially open today (Saturday) and will then open seven days a week from 11am to 10pm.
The old restaurant will continue operating until next month.