Caesar's Den has closed. The Little Italy restaurant served its last meals to the public on Sunday night.
It was owned by Tina and Guido DeFranco, who lived above their High Street restaurant.
"It feels great," said Guido DeFranco on the morning after the last dinner. "If feels like the first day of my new life."
The DeFrancos made public their intention to sell their restaurant back in 2011, but it remains unsold, according to Jerry Blumenthal, whose Lutherville based Business & Commercial Ventures is handling the property.
DeFranco said they just got tired of waiting. "I can't spend the rest of my life waiting for something to happen," he said.
This message appeared Monday morning on the restaurant's Facebook page:
To all our Caesar's Den friends,
It's with tremendous gratitude to God and to each one of you that we arrive at the time to say "Arrivederci." After almost 44 years of serving you our best variety of southern Italian food and Italian wine, we've made the decision to retire and celebrate the fruits of our labors. We served our last meals last night.
We take this momentous step with a mixture of joy and sadness because it means redefining, or perhaps bringing to an end, so many wonderful relationships that we have made over the years. Know that your contribution as a patron, supplier, or beloved staff to our nearly half century of
wonderful memories will live on in our hearts.
Thank you! Millie grazie! Thank you!
Tina and Guido
Caesar's Den is the third traditional Little Italy restaurant to close this year, following Rocco's Capriccio and Della Notte. But DeFranco said that the closings, including his, were coincidental and did not augur bad news for Little Italy's dining scene.
"We love this neighborhood," said DiFranco. "Tina is a passionate volunteer [for neighborhood causes]. I am passionate about walking. I love walking around the harbor."