Italian restaurant opens in Wapping Wharf in Bristol – while Longwell Records closes

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Bristol’s independent business port center in Wapping Wharf is set to house a new Italian restaurant, while a record store has closed.

The new Magari restaurant will serve a menu of freshly made on-site pasta and local ingredients when it opens in CARGO 2 – a network of converted shipping containers – in April.

The company was founded by friends and co-owners, Gilda Lombardi and Delphi Ross. Ms Lombardi left Italy for Bristol two years ago. She met Ms Ross during the lockdown when she gave English lessons to Ms Lombardi’s children before they started school.

Ms Lombardi’s family run a cooking school in Rome while Ms Ross has worked in the hospitality industry for 10 years.

Ms Lombardi said: “Food is a big part of our culture in Italy and because of my background I was really born into the kitchen, so opening Magari feels very natural to me. We really want to bring together and celebrate the vibrant food culture of Italy and the incredible local products grown and made in the Southwest.”

Ms Ross added: “For Italians, food is a communal activity that brings everyone together with love and laughter and we want a night out at Magari to have the same effect. Wapping Wharf has such a community atmosphere that it makes perfect sense for us to open here.”

Stuart Hatton, managing director of Umberslade, the developer behind Wapping Wharf, welcomed Magari to the mixed-use site, saying it would “fit in perfectly with our friendly neighborhood ethos”.

Magari will move into a double unit at CARGO 2, half of which once housed pastry chef and bar Buxton & Bird.

The other half was previously occupied by vintage clothing boutique Something Elsie, which has now moved next door to the unit formerly occupied by Longwell Records.

The record store, which opened a second outlet in Wapping Wharf in the first half of last year, has now closed at CARGO 2 to focus on its flagship store in Keynsham.

In a post on the companies’ social media profiles, Longwell Records owner Iain Aitchison wrote, “A big thank you to everyone who supported us at the Wapping Wharf Shop. I made some good friends on CARGO 2.

“I will really miss those sunny days enjoying myself with the amazing community that Stuart Hatton and Esme Hatton have created there.”

Wapping Wharf is home to over 40 businesses near Bristol’s historic port, with local bakery Bakers & Co also among its recent arrivals. The site supports approximately 250-300 full-time and part-time jobs in the city’s retail and hospitality sectors.

Work is underway to convert an abandoned warehouse on the site – the former factory of chocolate maker J and S Fry – into 20,000 square feet of office space that can accommodate up to 230 people.

As well as a growing business community, Wapping Wharf also includes 450 homes, with that number expected to rise to 600 when the current phase of development in the neighborhood is complete.

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