Legend has it that the city of Naples was born when the body of a tragic Greek mermaid, Partenope, drifted towards the island of Megaride and remained in the water to assume the city's beautiful landscape.

This charming piece of folklore is what gives the newest bakery and coffee shop in Shawlands its name, fitting given that owners Sara Capaldi (29) and her partner Toni De Carlo (38)’s own story started under the Italian sun.

Glasgow Times:

Sara said:“Toni was born and brought up in Italy and I lived over there for six years. We met not long after I had arrived and moved in together, I was working as a teacher and he was a bricklayer.

“We came back to Scotland and in 2015 and since then we’ve always had this dream of opening a place, it’s been a long time coming. We’ve had the logo design and everything planned for about five years now.” 

When lockdown hit, the couple, who now live in Bearsden, decided to use the change of circumstance as the push they needed to take a leap of faith and invest in their plans.

Sara said: “With the pandemic, Toni’s building trade got very quiet and we just thought ‘What are we doing? No job is safe right now so why don’t we just go for it?’

“Toni is such a good baker and lockdown gave us such a great opportunity to practice making pizzas and breads from home.”

Glasgow Times:

Nestled into a corner unit at the junction of Tassie street and Hector road, Partenope looks perfectly at home in its Redstone tenement surroundings. It’s a picturesque spot that feels far removed from the bustle of nearby Pollokshaws road, adding greatly to the shop's charm.

Sara said:“This corner just screamed coffee shop to me, I really can’t believe nobody snapped it up before we did.

“It did take a long time and a lot of hard work, but I’m so glad that we went for it because we definitely made the right choice.

“There’s so much going on around Shawlands and everyone is so enthusiastic about supporting local businesses.

“ All of the neighbours have been so kind, and I think for what we’re doing it’s the perfect place.”

Glasgow Times:

What the team at Partenope are doing is an exciting mix of savoury and sweet bakes, expertly made coffees and a small but perfectly formed sit-in menu, all inspired by the owner's long-standing family traditions.

Sara said: “It’s a wee bit of a family affair. There’s a lot of recipes from my grandmother and then most of the bread and pizza come from Toni’s grandparents.

“We have that kind of classic Italian food but also good old British baking it’s a nice mix of both.

“Our chocolate Guinness cake is very popular and we also make a crema, which is a custard cream tart with fruit in it, which seem to fly out the door. We can barely even get them off of the tray.”

Glasgow Times:

Having enjoyed a wildly successful opening week, Partenope looks set to become a valued addition to the thriving Shawlands café scene.

Despite a rush to keep up with demand, Sara remains dedicated to protecting their founding ethos of small-scale production carried out with love and care.

She said: “We make everything from scratch here and both myself and Toni are really committed to prioritising quality over quantity. We don’t ever want to get greedy and lose that, even when the shop is busy.

“We do want to get into making more specialty cakes going forward. A lot of people have asked us if we’re going to start wholesaling, but for now, I think we want to focus on what we're doing in the shop and make sure we're doing it well.”

Glasgow Times:

Rightly so, Sara and Toni are taking their time and enjoying watching their dreams come to fruition with Partenope. They do, however, have some ambitious plans for the future.

Sara said: “Next summer we’re thinking of starting a training programme with younger people from Italy because they’re really struggling for work over there, especially due to covid.

“We would love to have folks over for a couple of months to learn a bit of the trade and a bit of the language.”

Glasgow Times:

If you’re looking to experience an authentic taste of Italy or just fancy a slice of cake and coffee served by a team with a genuine passion for what they do, then make sure to give Partenope a visit soon.

We guarantee you won’t regret it.