Leandro Longo and Diana Gonzalez L’Artigiano, Old Street, London
Partners in business and in life, Leandro
What inspired you to start your own business?
When I was a child my grandmother and my mother always used to make fresh pasta for us and this
is how I learnt. I have always worked in hospitality but always wanted my own business. It has been my dream since I was 14 years old.
My goal in life has always been to run my own restaurant.The name of the restaurant means ‘The Artisan’. An artisan is someone who makes things with their hands – the concept of our business.
What’s a typical day like for you?
We arrive here at seven o’clock in the morning to bake the croissants and pastries for breakfast.
At around eight o’clock we make the dough for the pasta. We never do the dough the day before; we make everything fresh.
Each day we make four types of pasta – ravioli, tagliatelle,
The ravioli fillings we change every 3-4 days, but sometimes we change them daily.
We make all our sauces fresh. We don’t buy anything
Why did you choose the location?
We chose this area, Old
We did our market research as well. We knew that a lot of people in this area have a one-hour break and there would be guaranteed lunchtime trade. Our concept is based on speed.
What challenges have you encountered along the way?
The biggest challenge was when we broke the pasta boiler. It just let us down after a lunch service.
It comes from Italy and is
It was busy every day and we had to run up and down the stairs all day while trying to provide the same service to our customers. We did it – we don’t know how – but we did it, so I now say that after that, nothing can stop us.
What are your plans for the future?
We are planning to grow. In the next 3-4
difficult, but not impossible.
We’re quite ambitious. We want to take our brand to the main cities of each nation – cities like Rome and Barcelona.
Next year we are opening our first shop in Mexico, where Diana, my partner is from, that’s quite a big step.
My favourite thing about running my business is thinking about the future. We want to make L’Artigiano the best place to eat fresh pasta.
I feel happy to get up at five o’clock and be here for seven o’clock.
What advice would you give to other aspiring small-business owners?
Don’t be afraid of anything. If you have an idea, just go for it. If you are afraid and don’t want to take the risk – it’s better not to go into business.
You need to be sure about what you are doing and be confident about your skills and what you can do. That’s how I did it.
I saw the opportunity and straightaway, without asking myself loads of questions, I just thought: “let’s go for it.”