Vito Cataffo, famed restaurateur, dies at 59

Vito Cataffo, owner of five Italian restaurants in Lincolnshire, and with shares in 30 other restaurants, has died on Tuesday, September 28, at the age of 59.

Cataffo had health problems, including diabetes, and his health deteriorated lately. He was found dead at his home in Stonefield Avenue, Lincoln, on Tuesday.

He owned the Gino’s and Zucchini’s restaurants in Lincoln, as well as Via Iataliano in Newark, and Passion Restaurant in Bologna, Italy.

He also had restaurants in Grimsby, Louth, Sleaford, and was set to open a new eaterie in Grantham in mid-to-late October.

Cataffo, who achieved national acclaim following a six-part Channel 4 series Dolce Vito, was looking forward to celebrating his 60th birthday in November.

Vito Cataffo was born in Benevento, Italy, and left the country at a very young age, when his parents decided to emigrate to England.

The family settled in Southampton, with Cataffo’s father becoming a successful green grocer in the city’s Bedford Place shopping street.

Cataffo entered the catering industry at the age of 19, operating a small Café selling pizza. He gradually expanded, and owned his first restaurant by the age of 25.

Vito Cataffo’s attempt to launch a restaurant in Italy serving British cuisine (now Passion Restaurant) was documented by Channel 4 in 2009.

The six-part Dolce Vito series followed Cataffo as he found a failing Italian restaurant, rescues and renovated it, and then set about transforming it.