Lina Stores, the original Italian deli on Brewer Street in Soho, which first opened in 1944, will open a fresh pasta restaurant on Greek Street this spring. The brand has been invested in by Chris Miller’s White Rabbit Fund, which is also behind chef Andrew Wong’s Bloomberg Arcade project, modern Indian brand Kricket’s site in White City and its new delivery arm, Namma.
The brand’s original founder, Lina, opened the deli almost 75 years ago — it has become a Soho institution, priding itself on “providing homesick Italians and in-the-know Londoners with the very best ingredients that Italy has to offer.” Head chef Masha Rener claims to have fallen in love with Lina Stores, “the people and its unique atmosphere when she herself was a young Italian living in London and searching for authentic Italian produce nearly two decades ago.”
She since returned to open a restaurant on her organic farm in Umbria, but remained a close friend and member of the Lina Stores family, as she “travelled back and forth between the two countries sourcing ingredients, sharing recipes, and visiting family who lived in the capital.”
Rener sold her restaurant in Umbria and returned to London. It is one of the reasons that the Lina Stores team say they finally decided to open a restaurant — with Rener in charge.
The restaurant menu will feature many of Lina Stores’ classics alongside “lesser-known regional specialties and family recipes handed down through generations.”
All pasta for the restaurant will be hand made each day at the Lina Stores on Brewer Street (as it has been since 1944) using Italian flour and fresh eggs. Dishes will include:
- Tortellini in brodo
- Fusi all’Arrabiata
- Spaghetti chitarra with baby clams and bottarga
- Gnocchi stuffed with fresh ricotta and white truffle
- Farfalle with ‘Nduja and wild fennel
- Pappardelle with slow cooked rabbit ragu
- The prosciutti, cheeses and antipasti for which Lina Stores is also well known will be available as starters alongside a small selection of Italian wines, classic Italian cocktails and desserts.
Rener said in a statement:
“When Lina Stores was first founded, Soho was home to a thriving Italian community of Italian butchers, delicatessens, shops, restaurants and bars. Most of these independent businesses have slowly closed their doors but Lina Stores has remained a constant, a home away from home for many Italians like me in London.
“Many of our customers have been coming back to Lina Stores for years and we can’t wait to open our first restaurant, creating another destination where simple Italian cooking can be celebrated at affordable prices by all of our customers (old and new) for another 75 years to come.”