Grantham woman pursues dream of opening seafood eatery after losing husband to Covid
A Grantham woman has fulfilled her lifelong dream of opening a restaurant – sadly now in memory of her husband who passed away with Covid-19 earlier this year.
Connie Bruno welcomed customers to the Tinel Seafood and Grill Restaurant, on Wharf Road, this week, just three months after her husband, Leonel Ganhao, died in hospital.
The devoted couple, who moved from Portugal to Grantham 21 years ago, were in the midst of transforming their café into a restaurant when they both fell ill with Covid in January.
Connie, 58, said: “We opened Tinel Café in 2019 but I always dreamt of sharing more of my cooking with the town. We did a bit of research and realised that Grantham doesn’t have any seafood places and we knew that it was what we wanted to do.
“It seemed like the right moment to try something different. My husband was so supportive from the beginning. He knew that it had always been my dream to create food that everyone can enjoy.”
But the couple were forced to put their plans on hold when they both tested positive for Covid on New Year’s Day.
Connie added: “I felt so ill and my husband looked after me until I started to feel better. After a while I noticed that he didn’t look very well and we called for an ambulance as we couldn’t regulate his temperature.
“I gave him a kiss as if to say see you later. I didn’t realise what was going to happen.”
Leonel passed away in hospital on February 12, aged 72.
After losing him, Connie was determined not to give up.
The mum-of-five added: “This was our long time dream and a project that we were working on together. I knew that life had to go on and that he wouldn’t have wanted me to give up.
“I have got such amazing support around me and together we have worked together to make our dream happen as a family.
“Family is everything and with enough love and determination you can achieve anything together.”
The couple, who had been married for 30 years, first moved from Portugal to Grantham 21 years ago when their son also moved.
Connie, who also works alongside the Jubilee Church Life Centre, on London Road, to build links between the Portuguese and Grantham communities, added: “We didn’t want our son to go on his own and so we closed everything in Portugal and started again here.
“We worked in the same factory on opposite shifts and for two years would only see each other as we passed each other at the factory gates.”
Connie will be serving a variety of popular seafood dishes as well as special dishes from Portugal.
She added: “I wanted to bring a little bit of my culture and the country along with the flavours and the views of the Algarve to Grantham. I want our customers to really feel like they are there.”
Tinel will remain as a café, serving breakfast, cakes and sandwiches, but will operate as a seafood and grill restaurant from Thursday through to Saturday night.
Connie added: “Customers are so important and I now need the town’s support to make my dream come true.”
To book a table, search for Tinel Seafood Restaurant on Facebook or call 07585 090127.