Friday, September 24

Tribute to Sue Addis, owner of Donatello’s

- January 8, 2021

It’s around 30 years since I wrote my first restaurant review for what was then The Punter, later to become The Latest. I took a friend to Donatello and after wrote it up. It was a favourable review, what was not to like about a smart and spotlessly clean restaurant serving food at very affordable prices.

I soon found out that it was run by Pietro and Sue Addis and over the years Sue became not just a business colleague but a valued friend.

So it was with both horror and deep sadness that I heard on Friday, January 8th that Sue had been found murdered at her Withdean home the night before. The city is reeling at this terrible news and the fact that the police already have a suspect in custody is small comfort.

It was through food and drink that I met Sue but I was soon to discover that she was not only a restaurateur but also a lover of the arts and a great patron too, supporting many venues and organisations. Her passion was for dance and she had indeed in her youth been a dancer with the Rambert company.

But above all came her passion for her family and the company that she had created with her husband. Donatello was and remains the family dining go-to for the people of Brighton and Hove. It served delicious but affordable food and as such became the place of choice for generations. Families would have their parties there, vistors too and because of her relentless charitable endeavours it became a home to an endless stream of “A” list celebrities.

Both Donatello and Pinocchio were always full but unlike many successful business owners Sue never rested on her laurels. She would constantly upgrade their offering, redesigning and refurbishing, making sure that they maintained her very high standards. In recent years her sons have become an integral part of the business too but Sue remained very much at the helm, often there from dawn to beyond dusk, tireless.

As a restaurant critic my friendship with Sue was never strained but there was always a good humoured level of disdain, rightly so, when talking about food and drink. I admired that about her, that ability to deliver a food related right hook when we chatted. That said we probably agreed about more than we disagreed about.

Right now though my heart is filled with sadness that such a vibrant and vital part of our community has so savagely been taken from us and more so from her much loved family. The city is a poorer place today and no doubt there will be a massive outpouring of sadness over the coming days as we learn more.

I am sending my love to the family at this terrible time as are my colleagues here at Latest where Sue had been a long standing and loyal client for decades. May she rest in peace and her family find solace in our collective love for a truly remarkable woman.

Andrew Kay

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