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The Daily Cardinal Est. 1892
Sunday, October 01, 2023

Gino’s closure secures future for Kabul

The end of a 50-year-old State Street dining tradition will secure the future of another highly regarded State Street staple.

Gino Gargano, owner of Gino’s Italian Eatery, announced Thursday he will retire and close the restaurant he first opened July 5, 1963, after emigrating to America from Sicily. Gino’s last day will be Oct. 31.

Although Gino’s cuisine will be missed, Kabul owner Hamed Zafari, whose Afghani-Mediterranean restaurant risked forced closure due to a housing development on the 500 block of State Street, said he secured a lease to move into the second floor space at 540 State St., where Gino’s currently resides.

Zafari said he is “relieved” to have finally found a place and expects to reopen in the new location sometime in January.

“We looked at every possibility, and I just feel like we get a lot of the people who come from the university,” Zafari said. “That is, faculty and employees from the university. Also students, so we felt like we wanted to stay in the 500 block of State Street; we thought it was important.”

Gino’s nephew and employee Peter Gargano said his uncle made the decision to close the restaurant upon his retirement because there was “no one next in line” to take over the business.

Ald. Mike Verveer, District 4, congratulated Gino on his “well-deserved retirement” but said it will be as much a personal loss for him as it will be to the community.

“It’s been a part of the State Street fabric for decades and decades,” Verveer said. “I enjoyed many a meal there, going back to when I was a UW freshman.”

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