Arrow-right Camera
The Spokesman-Review Newspaper
Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

‘Heartbroken’ yet ‘thankful,’ Meridian restaurant closes temporarily after owner’s death

Gino Vuolo sits in the restaurant’s bar area in this 2015 photo.  (Kyle Green/Idaho Statesman)
By Michael Deeds Idaho Statesman

BOISE – A Meridian, Idaho, restaurant has closed temporarily after the death of its founder and namesake.

Gino Vuolo, owner of Gino’s Italian Ristorante & Bar, 3015 W. McMillan Road, died Tuesday, according to a post on the restaurant’s Facebook page. Gino’s shuttered on Tuesday but planned to reopen Wednesday.

“It’s with a heavy heart that we have to sadly inform you all of Gino Vuolo’s passing early this morning,” the restaurant wrote. “Gino and Tia have poured their heart and soul, not only into their restaurant, but into the community that has loved and helped support us over all these years. Collectively, we are heartbroken, but thankful to have gotten to spend so much time with Gino, Tia and their family for so many years.”

Vuolo opened Gino’s Italian Ristorante in downtown Boise as owner-chef in early 1997 before moving it near the intersection of Ten Mile and McMillan roads in 2009. Born in Naples and raised in New York’s Little Italy, Vuolo moved back to Naples before eventually relocating to Idaho with his wife, Tia, a native Boisean.

Fond of emerging from the kitchen to warmly welcome customers, Vuolo created a family atmosphere at Gino’s. His parents operated an Italian restaurant in Manhattan for more than two decades. The menu at Gino’s is built around Southern Italian recipes rooted in a Naples restaurant started by his grandmother over a century ago.

On Facebook, diners quickly expressed condolences.

“He was such a lovely man,” wrote one, “and his beautiful spirit was in every meal he prepared, every greeting to customers old and new, and that smile that shone through his eyes.”

“So very sorry to Gino’s entire extended family,” wrote another. “Gino always made me and anyone I was with feel welcome, happy, of course hungry, and loved at his restaurants. Thank you, Gino.”