Back in 2004, Vito DiLullo opened a tiny Mediterranean restaurant on NE Alberta with a lot of casual neighborhood charm. However, after a storied history within the Portland restaurant scene, Ciao Vito seems to have closed, according to an Instagram announcement. “Ciao Vito n’est pas morte...mais il n’existe plus,” the post reads, which roughly translates to “Ciao Vito is not dead, but it no longer exists.” A wine shop and bar called Solera has filed a liquor license application at Ciao Vito’s address, but DiLullo didn’t respond to requests for comment or clarification.
In its nearly two decades open, Ciao Vito has turned heads. USA Today’s 10Best described it as “one of those timeless restaurants that falls into the category of ‘best kept secret.’” The intimate spot served dishes like sausage ragu and Piedmontese steak. Back in 2012, a fresh-faced José Chesa added a slew of Spanish dishes like patatas bravas and croquetas, eventually opening Ataula in 2013. The restaurant has quietly held its own since as a neighborhood standby, with $3 meatballs, eggplant parmigiana, fried calamari, and Italian wines by the glass.
“For me it will forever be about the multitude of amazing employees, the recurring smiles of so many regular customers, the friends I cherish and the thrill and pride of creating and sustaining a restaurant when nobody thought I should,” the closing announcement post continues. “2004-2021... thank you for being part of the show.”