WORK on a new Caribbean restaurant on Gilmore Place has revealed hand-painted signage from one of Edinburgh’s most famous defunct institutions: Mr Boni’s ice cream parlour.
The fading signage, which is thought to date from the late 1940s, was revealed on Wednesday as work continued on the opening of Trenchtown restaurant at the Lochrin Buildings on Gilmore Place. The upcoming eatery will specialise in Caribbean cuisine.
Referring to then owner Joseph Boni senior, the signage reads: “J. Boni’s ice cream for health - made fresh daily - morning coffee & teas”.
Suzanne McIntosh, who owns Ubermas next door to the former ice cream parlour said the uncovered signage was causing quite a stir.
“The sign has brought so much joy to the street today. Everyone stopping to share stories of Mr Boni senior & his family’s wonderful ice cream parlour.
“We used to go there with our Granny every sat afternoon for a treat.”
Mr Boni’s ice cream firm was started by Biagio Boni, an Italian immigrant who came to Edinburgh and opened the Empress Cafe on Gilmore Place in the early 1900s.
As well as the Empress Cafe, the Boni family sold ice cream from a hand barrow on the streets of Edinburgh, which soon became well-known throughout the city.
In 1932, Biagio moved into the cones and wafer business and his brother Giuseppe took over the cafe.
Guieseppe sadly passed away in 1945 and his widow Jennifer and their 15 year old son Lawrence took over the running of the firm.
The business was relaunched as The Quernstone Restaurant in the 1960s, before being transformed again in 1979 as Mr Boni’s.
Over the next 25 years the parlour expanded and flourished and Boni name soon became a local by word for the production of delicious gelato. Many Edinburgh locals still recall with fondness Mr Boni’s huge ice cream range and special items such as the famous Mr Boni’s ice cream birthday cake.
Located close to Gilmore Place dental surgery, children were frequently taken to the parlour for a treat after visits to the dentist’s chair.
The popular parlour on Gilmore Place sadly closed in 2002 amid rumours of a family fall out.