VIDEO: Childhood sweethearts serving Spanish food in Gloucester
By Mark Owen and David Wood | 8th December 2023
A pair of childhood sweethearts who hail from Slovakia are now serving Spanish food in Gloucester.
Pavol and Mishka Ciba founded Spago (Italian for 'string') in a modern industrial space in Bakers Quay in 2020, investing £120,000 in the venture.
The couple met when they were teenagers at catering college in Slovakia. They came over to the UK in 2006 and worked in ABB and Delphi factories in Stonehouse, saving their money and always dreaming of opening their own business.
In 2017 Mishka's brother-in-law opened a Spago in Slovakia and it was a huge success.
Pavol and Mishka eventually opened up Spago in Bakers Quay in May 2020, but it was just at the start of the lockdown. With hospitality venues closed, they served takeaways and had people sitting outside, which took off. They now employ ten staff.
Adrian Goodall, director of Rokeby Developments, the main man delivering the £30 million development at Bakers Quay, didn't charge them rent for two years in order to help them.
Mishka said: "Spago is a lifelong dream of ours. We are originally from Slovakia but Gloucestershire is now our home. We have travelled the world and bring our experience and passion for exceptional food and culture to Spago.
"We serve hand-crafted sweet and savoury crêpes and authentic tapas from Spain. We combine traditional preparations with local ingredients for dishes that are authentic to both their Spanish origins and our canalside setting.
"Tapas is a great idea for people who like to share the food. People come in and order crêpes and tapas and share, not just order one big portion of mains, but to share.
"Everything is selling really well. Whatever we sell directly to the customer is fantastic quality."
Adrian Goodall said: "Spago is a great asset to the development here. We have worked to create a neighbourhood with the Funk Society next door, then there's the Beefeater, Premier Inn and Costa Coffee, and we also hope to start work on the Malthouse next year."
When Punchline-Gloucester.com editor Mark Owen, an ex-chef, paid Spago a visit this week, he sampled a delicious offering of pork belly in apple sauce, crispy chicken with homemade chilli sauce and homemade bread and king prawns with garlic in olive oil.
Mark's verdict was: "Simply fantastic."
Spago also serves a large variety of drinks including Frizzantte on tap. Spanish beers and ciders are on offer as well as our specially selected wine list. A health conscious selection of non-alcoholic options are also available.
For more information on Spago, call 01452 676469 or visit www.spagogloucester.co.uk
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