Yorkshire’s oldest ice cream parlour that gets offers to buy it every week
“People come round the corner from Eastborough and they can’t believe the Harbour Bar is still there,” says owner Guilian Alonzi.
The Harbour Bar, in Scarborough‘s South Bay, is Yorkshire’s oldest – and one of the UK’s oldest – ice cream parlours.
Guilian’s parents Annie and Tony and his aunt Lucy opened the authentic Italian gelateria on an August Bank Holiday Saturday in 1945.
Two hours later, the Harbour Bar had sold out of everything. More than 75 years later it’s still Scarborough’s go-to place for a scoop of the best.
Not much has changed apart from the machinery which is, apart from the ice cream, why it’s still busy.
The decor looks like that of a 1950s American milk bar and the waitresses still wear old school uniforms in yellow with white cuffs and collars.
You can still order knickerbocker glories, sundaes, milkshakes and floats among the newer treats. The parlour now has an alcohol licence which means it can serve boozy desserts and wine.
While Guilian could have started drawing his pension eight years ago, he has no plans to retire even if investors have been eyeing up his business.
“Every other week we get a letter from someone,” says Guilian who was born above the parlour in 1948.
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“We get lots of companies trying to buy the property.
“We’ve had a lot. They probably want the building and our trade name.”
But Guilian, who runs the parlour with his wife Theresa, says he shreds their letters.
He says: “I’ve no retirement age in mind. I’m one of those people who walks into a car showroom and just buys a car. I never build it up.”
Guilian, who is also a trained accountant, says he will eventually retire “when the circumstances are right”.
Alas, there isn’t another Alonzi generation to take over the family business.
His son Andrew, 52, is a lawyer while his daughter Julie, 50, is a lecturer.
“They’ve got jobs and their own families. It’s often the case with Italian families,” Guilian says.
When the time does come to sell the business Guilian has a requirement for the new owner.
“The main consideration is they have got to look after the staff. They are the backbone of this business… They make or break a business.”
But such concerns seem a long way off.
And while Giulian doesn’t think The Harbour Bar will last another 75 years there’s plenty of life left in it.
Guilian, who still makes the ice cream himself in the factory behind the shop, says: “You have to remember ice cream makes you smile.
“When a person has an ice cream in their hand they’re smiling.”
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