A beloved New Bedford restaurant is closing after its owner and chef was diagnosed with cancer.

Nick Ricciardi posted on Facebook this morning just after 10 a.m. that Cafe Italia Ristorante is permanently closing, and he wanted to thank his customers for all of their support over the years.

“Due to the unfortunate circumstances of being diagnosed with cancer I no longer have the strength to keep my dream of Cafe Italia open,” Ricciardi wrote. “It has been an amazing 13 years of living my dream and serving all of you that are not only customers but also have become friends.”

“I bid you all farewell,” he wrote.

The Facebook page for the restaurant has been updated to “permanently closed.”

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Cafe Italia has been one of New Bedford’s premiere Italian eateries for those 13 years, starting on Rockdale Avenue in the city’s South End before moving to 555 Pleasant Street downtown back in October of 2019.

Ricciardi, who was born and raised in Rome, prided himself in bringing authentic Italian fare to the Whaling City, even importing ingredients from Italy to ensure everything was made just right. It was that dedication that made Cafe Italia stand out and stand among some of the best Italian restaurants you’d find in places like Boston’s North End or Providence’s Federal Hill.

Of course, as much as the diners of the SouthCoast will miss Cafe Italia, the important thing is Ricciardi focusing on his health. It’s safe to assume that everyone here in the Greater New Bedford area is wishing Nick the best in his battle with cancer.

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