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Little Italy's Lew Gambino's Restaurant Closes After 29 Years, Less Than A Year After Ray Lewis-Backed Rebrand

BALTIMORE (WJZ) -- After nearly three decades in Baltimore, the Lew Gambino's restaurant, formerly Ciao Bella, in Little Italy is no more.

The restaurant's owners wrote on Facebook that its doors are closed for good after 29 years.

In the post, the restaurant, whose August 2019 rebrand involved former Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis, thanked its loyal customers, friends and employees.

"It started with the founder (our father) Tony Sr., Tony Jr., and I (Lisa Gambino). We were also able to watch the grandchildren Nicholas and Gabriella grow up in the restaurant as well," the post reads in part. "Our dad was very proud of his many accomplishments. After our dad had passed away, Tony Jr. took the helm and spent 28 years cooking and proudly keeping the legacy alive. Finally, Tony grew tired and knew his time had come to sit back and rest. It became very obvious it could not survive without him. We tried our best but knew the legacy would fade without the big brother running the show."


The restaurant described Lewis' and business partner Deb Poquette's work in the past year as helping give it one last chance at survival once Tony Gambino, Jr., the son of founder Tony Gambino, Sr., stepped down after decades in the kitchen.

"Ray came in with the kindness of his heart to try to keep our legacy from dying. His love for our family is unconditional and for that, we will always be grateful and never forget our friends Ray Lewis and Deb Poquette," the post reads.

The owners did not say if the coronavirus pandemic played a role in the decision to close.

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