Piccolo was the brain child of Larry as a teenager, working in an Italian style coffee bar in the UK. Loving the vibe, embracing the art of coffee making and inspired by Italian colleagues, he became obsessively attracted to learning Italian, visiting the country and starting his own place.
After graduating and briefly consulting a map, the original plan was to open something near Bari next to a beach; daily barbeques and beach-football games – easy peasy. With all his worldly belongings and a pocket full of Euros Larry arrived in Italy. Feeling somewhat depressed arriving at Milano Centrale in the height of winter he headed to Genova. It was not yet Bari, but at least it's on the coast.
While working in Italy and enjoying la dolce vita, Larry learnt the secrets of good food. It was in between experimenting in my own kitchen and going out for dinner that I discovered aperitivo. After some years of living la dolce vita he realised the dream of starting a café in Italy was somewhat harder to achieve.
After a Dutch girl accidentally packed Larry's heart and took it to Amsterdam, he decided to follow. One look at the bars in Scheveningen and his enthusiasm for a beach café vanished. Dream no. 2 was a coffee bus - a Citroen HY Van to be exact. Touring the festivals and selling coffee in the sun; very appealing and somewhat more affordable than a fullfledged café. However, after some time in Holland, considering the cold Dutch winters and seemingly short summers the decision was made that being exposed to the elements was a bad idea. It was time to get serious and build up some proper savings.
This was the fun period of testing recipes, travelling for inspiration and tasting the competition. It included a barista course back in Italy, visiting China’s biggest tea market in Guangzhou, a tour of sustainable coffee farming in Costa Rica, searching for the perfect flat white in New Zealand, and hosting many food and drink tasting nights with friends in Holland.
From Pumping Duck to Caffè Ristretto, the name was now tastefully changed to Caffè con Te – a clever Italian play on words. When a friend however mistook it for Café Kontje, it had to be changed. Finally Piccolo was to be the name. With a business plan in one hand and savings in the other Larry started looking for a location. When he accidentally stumbled across the “Te Huur” sign in the Tollensstraat he knew that was it. With Anne & Max next door serving every coffee under the sun however, the focus would have to change yet again.
Things fell into place when Larry was in Italy for one last inspirational tour. The best part of the trip was a small aperitivo bar hidden in a side street of Venice. Sipping Aperol Spritz, eating mini-panini and listening to Italians chatting away - Piccolo should be an aperitivo bar. Piccolo: small bites and small happy moments.
Larry sealed the deal on the Tollensstraat, got the key in March and started building almost immediately. 3 busy and expensive months later, thanks to incredible help from family and friends Piccolo were ready to open; first to former colleagues, then to friends and finally to you.
One year in, we've changed our food menu about 50 times, revamped the bar, extended the kitchen and grown the team. Customers turned into friends and Piccolo has become a neighbourhood hangout. We're proudest when recreating the Piccolo moment. When lunch turns into aperitivo into dinner and ends with a <em>digestivo</em> on the terrace. When people warm up over spiced hot chocolate while playing games, or when kids play in the square while parents catch up over a bottle of wine. Piccolo bites for piccolo moments. Grazie a tutti per un primo anno meraviglioso. Tot morgen!
After Larry had ran Piccolo for precisely 3 years, narrowly avoided losing a couple of fingers and had several months of holidays to catch up on it was time for other adventures. Kaeye, who was already working at Piccolo for 2/3 of its existance, was full of energy and ready to take the reins and take Piccolo to the next level.
As the Corona virus affected so many around the world and forced Piccolo to close its doors, it was only temporarily and Kaeye and team are back and ready to serve you!