Thursday, Dec. 29, 2011 06:05 am
Dec. 21, 1964 – Sept. 25, 2011
He came to town with a dream of owning his own restaurant – a Cajun/Creole restaurant as authentic as it could be, since many of the recipes were from his own family. This man’s family had spent many years in the restaurant business during his childhood in the belly of Louisiana. He was no stranger to hard work and dedication to task. He was a Navy veteran and fiercely loved his country.
He worked night and day to make his lifelong dream come true in Gambino’s Louisiana Restaurant in Taylorville. People came from all around to experience the wonderful atmosphere, great food and awesome presence of Gaetano at their table asking them, “How you folks doing?”
The food was fabulous; the service was second to none. On Friday evenings, he served up a buffet of fresh shrimp straight from the Gulf, crawfish, crab cakes, catfish, along with a number of assorted pasta and rice dishes, and who could forget the chicken/sausage gumbo or the Bananas Foster! It was a hit. On Thursday evenings (karaoke night), he could belt out a Louie Armstrong or Elvis song that would bring tears to your eyes. Not to mention the beautiful mural paintings, the Cajun/Zydeco music, the Mardi Gras beads, masks and decorations that couldn’t help but put the customer in a festive mood. Yes, from the outside it looked like the perfect dream. Many times, when he wasn’t at the restaurant, he was chasing new business and cooking for this charity or that event.
There was a side of this man that many did not know. He was an unbelievably generous man, who saved many a young person from going down the wrong path in life, the genuine, loyal friend who would listen to your plight, offer you his insight and wouldn’t judge you for the decisions you made, yet would tell you what he thought if you asked.
He was the single father of three wonderful children. He did everything he could to see they had a good home life, good values and a very present parent who knew their every need. Sometimes with all this activity he would need a little down time, so you would see him cruising around town on his one-of-a-kind gator-colored motorcycle.
He said he would like to lose weight. That the restaurant business had generously given him more pounds than he wanted, but that he just didn’t have time to incorporate a new lifestyle change in order to lose the pounds. He said he wanted to be here when his daughters and son grew up and he didn’t want his health to fail because of his weight. However, before he could make those changes, he passed from this life to the next on Sept. 25, 2011.
He brought people together in a friendly, pleasant, festive atmosphere and gave them some of his love, food and conversation. When they left, they were uplifted and happier for having come in and received their generous dose of “G.”