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Better hurry, this beloved Port Moody restaurant is closing soon

Rosa Gabrielli started her Italian restaurant 22 years ago with her mother, Anna

A beloved Port Moody restaurant is closing its doors at the end of the month.

Rosa’s Cucina Italiana has been a part of the city’s dining scene for 22 years.

But owner Rosa Gabrielli says, after 43 years in the business of preparing food for other people, including a long run at the old Nick’s Spaghetti House on Commercial Drive in Vancouver, it’s time to hang up her apron and pack away the big wooden spoon she uses to stir up her signature spaghetti sauce and meatballs.

Gabrielli, who works in the compact little kitchen of her Clarke Street restaurant with her husband, Dennis, and daughter, Sonya, told the Tri-City News, since making her intentions known, she’s shed some tears as customers have offered their congratulations and told her how much they’ll miss visiting her establishment.

Some of them shared their thoughts on the Facebook group, Lower Mainland Eats.

“She is a legend,” said one of Rosa’s fans.

“I have all the sads,” said another.

Gabrielli said, as news has spread, several regulars have even asked for her closely-guarded recipes so they can continue to enjoy her flavours at home, especially her Caesar salad dressing that was passed down from her mother, Anna, with whom she started the business.

“There’s nice people in Port Moody,” Gabrielli said, adding she’ll miss cooking for her customers.

“When you cook at home, it’s different. I love cooking for the people and seeing how happy they are.”

Some of those people include local and international sports and entertainment celebrities, like NHL hockey players Ryan Johansen and Harold Snepts, legendary coach Scotty Bowman, and musicians Michael Bublé, Jon Bon Jovi and K.D. Lang. Many left behind autographed photos that have been framed and mounted on two walls in the cozy dining room.

Gabrielli said she has no set plan for her retirement yet, other than taking some time to relax and let the finality of her decision sink in.

“I want to see if this is reality,” she said.

Rosa’s Cucina Italiana – located at 2331 Clarke St. – will be serving its last customers on Aug. 31.