Shop Local: Family-owned Italian restaurant offers festive cheer

The Gate on Thaxted Road, Saffron Walden. Photo: Calin Dirstar.

The Gate on Thaxted Road, Saffron Walden. Photo: Calin Dirstar. - Credit: Calin Dirstar

A family-owned Italian restaurant in Saffron Walden is ready to offer some festive cheer this month.

Andreea Dirstar, manager at The Gate. Photo: Calin Dirstar.

Andreea Dirstar, manager at The Gate. Photo: Calin Dirstar. - Credit: Calin Dirstar

The Gate, which has been on Thaxted Road for the last decade, will offer their Christmas menu in addition to their usual menu - by adding dishes such as ravioli with gorgonzola and pears.

They have also adorned their business with a tree, decorations and lights.

Manager Andreea Dirstar said: “We opened yesterday for people to dine in, but we will also continue our takeaway for collection for people who are not ready to come in or are vulnerable.”

She added: “We have had people saying they will come and sit outside, even though it’s really cold. They said they would bring blankets with them.”

The Gate on Thaxted Road, Saffron Walden. Photo: Calin Dirstar.

The Gate on Thaxted Road, Saffron Walden. Photo: Calin Dirstar. - Credit: Calin Dirstar


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The restaurant has “a bit of everything”: homemade pasta, bread and desserts, a selection of starters, fresh fish and lamb chops.

After each meal, the staff serves complimentary homemade limoncello.

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“We cook everything to order, nothing is prepared before,” Andreea said.

She added: “We get to know most of our customers, some of them are our friends, our staff are very friendly. Once they come in, they are not just customers who get a service, we give more than that. We share stories, they tell us about their lives and we tell them about ours.

The Gate on Thaxted Road, Saffron Walden. Photo: Calin Dirstar.

The Gate on Thaxted Road, Saffron Walden. Photo: Calin Dirstar. - Credit: Calin Dirstar

“Our customers are friendly, they are from Saffron Walden and the villages around. We have families, people that came on the first day that we opened and are still coming.”

She thinks it has been a hard year for everyone, but that Saffron Walden is a small but supportive community.

“I think being part of a community we all have to help each other, buying locally instead of ordering online and trying to do a little bit for each other,” she said.

“It’s been a bit difficult. I’m looking forward to things getting better.”

The Gate adapted to government restrictions each time they changed. They currently have hand sanitisers across the site, fewer tables inside to maintain social distancing and staff wear face masks.

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