Community reacts to death of Atlanta restaurateur Bonnie Bambinelli

Bonnie Marisa Bambinelli, the owner of longtime Atlanta Italian restaurant Bambinelli's, has died. Bambinelli was 64.

She opened the Northlake eatery in 1980, three years after she and her family moved to the area from New York, where they owned a restaurant.

In its nearly 40 years in business, the restaurant built a reputation for its homestyle Italian classics, as well as a loyal customer base charmed by Bambinelli’s warmth and hospitality.

In a 1994 interview, Bambinelli told the AJC that her customers are like family.

"We know everybody," she said. "We have some people who've been coming in since they were teenagers. Now they are married and bring their children."

Her sudden death Nov. 30 caught longtime patrons by surprise, with numerous customers taking to social media to express sadness at the loss of the beloved restaurateur. 

Bambinelli is survived by her husband, Marcelo DeSouza Chamoun; her son Joseph “Joey” Bambinelli, who followed in his mother’s footsteps when he opened a Bambinelli’s location in Lilburn in 2005, and another in Roswell in 2017; her daughter-in-law Tammy; her mother, Barbara Saccagno Gangemi; her brother, Bruce Doak; and her grandsons, Joey Jr., and Dominic.

The Bambinelli family will receive friends Dec. 4 from 5-7 p.m. at Floral Hills Funeral Home. Funeral services will follow at 7 p.m. in the funeral home chapel. Burial will take place at a later date in Forest Lawn Memorial Gardens in Pompano Beach, Florida.

The AJC has reached out to the family for comment.

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