Landmark day for popular Burnley Italian eaterie as MP cuts ribbon at official re-opening

Burnley MP Antony Higginbotham had a very special duty to carry out before he headed for Parliament on Monday.

He visited Italian cafe and restaurant Bellissimo in Burnley town centre for the official re-opening ceremony organised by owners Lynn and John Scibetta.

Cutting the ribbon to officially re-open the award winning eatery Antony praised the business community and called for people across Burnley and Padiham to support local businesses as we move to step three in the roadmap to easing restrictions.

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From Monday indoor hospitality and entertainment venues have been able to re-open, including pubs, clubs, bars, cafes, restaurants, cinemas, museums, and children’s play areas.

MP Antony Higginbotham cuts the ribbon to mark the re-opening of Burnley cafe Bellissimo, owned by John and Lynn Scibetta

Antony said: “Lynn and her family are joining many local businesses who, from today, are re-opening their doors

for the first time in months and I would like to wish them and every business in Burnley and Padiham the

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very best as they welcome back customers indoors.

“We've now moved to step three of the roadmap and, whilst we must all remain cautious, we should support our local businesses as much as we can”.

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Established in Parker Lane nine years ago the family business, which also employs Lynn and John's youngest son Robert, closed in March at the start of the first lockdown before it was allowed to re-open for a short period in July before the second lockdown. Then came the third, and probably toughest lockdown, in November.

Lynn recently admitted that the pandemic had almost forced to the family to consider closing down the business but their passion for the cafe and the support of their customers kept them going.

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The holder of the best cafe title for 2015 and 2017 in the prestigious English Italian food awards, John had the honour of being asked to cook for Italy’s answer to Gordon Ramsey, respected Neopolitan pizza chef Gianfranco Lervolino.

Bellissimo has also been supported by celebrity Italian chef Aldo Zilli, the founder of the English Italian awards who asked the Scibettas personally to take part in the awards.

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The couple praised Antony or the help and advice he gave them regarding different grants they could access.

Lynn said: "We couldn't have done it without him.

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"The help both Antony and his office staff gave was a lifeline for us, invaluable. He is working hard for Burnley and people need to realise that."

Lynn also thanked Burnley Council for the help and support it has given to businesses in the town as being 'helpful and positive.'

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The Scibettas decided to use the grant money to totally revamp the shop which they kept under wraps until the grand re-opening.

Guidance for close contact between friends and family has been updated with up to six people or two households able to meet indoors with overnight stays permitted. Gathering limits outdoors has also increased to up to 30 people with all remaining outdoor entertainment able to reopen. Some larger events will be able to take place, including conferences, concert performances, and sports events but the Prime Minister is continuing to urge caution.