CORAL GABLES, Fla. – Nino Pernetti, the owner of Caffe Abbracci in Coral Gables, died on Tuesday night, according to the mayor of Coral Gables. He was 76.
Mayor Vince Lago, who described him as a “larger than life figure,” announced Wednesday that he had plans to rename the 300 block of Aragon “Nino’s Way” in his honor, according to News 6 partner WPLG.
Miami Beach Commissioner Michael C. Gongora also admired him.
“Wonderful man with a great personality who will be remembered fondly by many, including me,” Gongora wrote on Instagram.
Pernetti was first diagnosed with COVID-19 in late 2020 and he underwent a tracheotomy at Jackson Memorial Hospital in 2021. He continued to be treated for complications.
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Pernetti, who opened Caffe Abbracci in 1989, was born in Lake Garda, Italy. He was 13 when he got his first job as a barista at a cafe in his hometown.
“Pernetti could never have imagined that his hospitality career would take him around the globe to 15 countries, overseeing hundreds of employees at each stop,” a paragraph of his short biography reads.
In 2008, Pernetti published the “Caffè Abbracci Cookbook: His Life Story and Travels Around the World.” Many mentees such as Jesse H. Vasquez wrote messages on the restaurant’s Facebook and Instagram pages on Wednesday.
“I did work for him for 34 years, always a gentleman. His legacy not only in the industry, but in life,” Vazquez wrote.
A long list of loyal customers who included businessmen and artists also left tributes. Lynn Parks, a Coral Gables photographer, said he was a creative “Italiano” who was loved by all.
“Whether you were a banker or a banker’s assistant, he made everyone feel important,” Parks said.
Pernetti is survived by his ex-wife Marlen Pernetti, and his daughters Tatiana and Katerina Pernetti.