Morrellis is a seaside restaurant in Portstewart that is run by the forth generation of Morellis. Ice cream is their staple food and what Damian’s great grandfather started with back in 1911.
There were some tumultuous times ahead for the family being Italian and having to be interned on the Isle of Mann during World War II however, they returned to the north coast and have increased their menu from just ice cream to full café fare.
I had a chat with Damian and a tour of the place videoing my interview and tour before tucking in to a hearty Irish stew (it was cold and rainy and a perfect day for hot stew) and then was treated with an Ice Cream Sundae. Mint choc delight with their biggest seller, vanilla.
I was delighted when I got to the bottom of my sundae and had a nice little puddle of chocolate fudge and choc mint chocolate. I could eat another one right now.
I was quite surprised that fifty percent of their ice cream sales are vanilla but as Damian advised most return visitors are traditionalists and of course it is the base for all of the delicious sundaes they offer.
I met Damian’s wife Ellen, a friend of theirs Nneka who was visiting from London and had a wonderful chat talking food, architecture and of course golf as Damian is a member at the local club, Portstewart Golf Club.
I love the history of the place and the rich story that is interwoven into so many other peoples lives. Damian told me of an American couple who recently visited, driving directly from the airport, as that is where her parents got engaged decades ago.
Grandmothers bringing in tiny children digging into the glass sundae dishes (sourced in Italy) with their long spoons being told stories of when their grandmothers did the exact same thing sitting on their grandmothers lap when they were a wee child.
They are connected to many families and in fact the grandfather (a Mr Todd) of Martin (who I am staying with) took food to Mr Morelli on the Isle of Mann during WWII.
The outlook is stunning and while it was overcast and raining today I had popped in Saturday when the place was pumping and the sea was glistening out the window.
The staff are friendly and very welcoming and when a rush started Damian and Ellen jumped up to serve guests while Nneka and I chatted as they buzzed around us helping everyone out.
Most of Damian’s family are involved in hospitality whether it be making and selling ice cream or running restaurants.
The Morrelli’s are a fixture in this community and I look forward to returning next year for a round of golf with Damian and of course some of that award winning ice cream.
Morellis – April 2016