The co-founder of Bertotti Pure Italian is a bit of a renaissance man.
Not only has Diego Alfonso delivered some of the finest ice cream in the borough alongside his wife Suzy Bertotti but he is just as handy with a hammer as he is with his trusty scoop.
The husband and wife team opened their second shop in Goldhawk Road last year after the success of their flagship store just down the road in Hammersmith Grove.
However, the new shop was in a state of disrepair when the couple took it over in early 2015 so Diego, 28, called in a favour from his friends to do the three months of renovation work.
“We filled up five skips with all the rubbish that was in the shop when we took it over. It was in a complete mess and had been like that for many years. I got my friends to help me gut the place to help keep the costs down for all the renovation work. It took around three months of working day and night to get it to look as it does today,” said Diego.
“I was in charge of decorating the entire place and created many of the pieces of furniture you now see in the store. From the table that I made with a disused suitcase to the restored theatre lights that were left behind from the last tenant. Nothing went to waste and it was all worth it after all the lovely kind words from our customers who say we have brought some life back to a dead road.”
Diego fell in love with the area when he came over from Colombia almost ten years ago and began working at Chez Kristof in Hammersmith Grove.
It was there he spotted the vacant shop which now houses the original Bertotti Pure Italian and is still going strong today.
The couple celebrated the store’s four-year anniversary this month with a party for their regular customers. That is after Diego got his hands dirty once again after refurbishing the premises before the anniversary celebrations.
“The community spirit here is amazing. We were made to feel at home right away and I could not have asked for more. I absolutely love the area. Once I got here I did not want to leave and now I am raising my own family in this lovely part of London.
“There is a great multicultural mix which makes the place unique and it is great to see all the different cultures in one place living side by side and learning from each other’s cultures,” added Diego.
Co-founder Suzy, 28, is originally from Brazil but gets her surname from her Italian grandparents and can still be seen helping her husband in the ice cream parlour despite being pregnant with the couple’s second child.
His son Joseph, two, recently had his birthday at the Goldhawk Road store which is rapidly becoming the new place to have kids’ birthday parties as Bertotti tailor the theme to match the child’s wishes such as the last party which was based on the CBeebies show In the Night Garden.
Bertotti have also launched a new pancakes and waffles line which are freshly-made on site as well as new ice cream flavours as their passion to invent new concoctions – such as Oreo Cheesecake! – show no signs of melting away.