Dorando’s was well-known for its counter-top covered with newspapers, its ice-cream freezer, the jars of sweets lining the shelves and its open fire in the tea room.
“The shop part was at the front at a lower level, then, if I remember correctly, there were a couple of steps to an upper level (slightly raised) where the tables were set out. Even in the mid-1980s it had a very dated ‘old world’ feel to it. When it closed it was a bit of a loss to Inverness.”
Dorando’s was opened by Renato Turriani. He came to Inverness before World War I to work for another Italian family. He was a relaxed, slow-walker and would stroll along the streets of Inverness arriving late for work. His employers would make fun of him by calling out ‘Come on, Dorando! You’re late’. This was the name of Dorando Pietr, the Italian marathon runner who was disqualified at the 1908 London Olympics after he collapsed and was helped over the finishing line. The nickname stuck and was the one used by Renato when he opened his first cafe on his return to Inverness after fighting in World War I.
When the café closed, Renato’s son Henry said:
“It’s a relic of the past which really seems to have no place in the fast-food take-away world of today. Yet it lasted my father’s life-time, it gave me my livelihood, but that’s it – my son wants a different way of life”