Caffe Abbracci owner Nino Pernetti, 76, dies of complications from COVID

For more than three decades, Caffe Abbracci has been a staple of the Coral Gable dining scene, thanks to its founder and owner, Nino Pernetti.

Pernetti savored his restaurant every day until he contracted COVID in 2020. The restaurateur never recovered from the aftermath.

The restaurant announced Wednesday evening on Facebook the death of Pernetti.

It is with great sadness that we share the passing of Caffe Abbracci owner and founder, Nino Pernetti, after a 17-month battle with complications from COVID-19. He was a true leader, mentor, and most importantly a friend to everyone who worked here. He offered a sincere smile and a warm hug to everyone who dined here, over the past three decades. Please keep his daughters, Tatiana and Katerina, and his ex-wife, Marlen, in your prayers.

Pernetti grew up in the Lombardy region of Italy and began his culinary career at the age of 13 when he worked as a barista in his hometown on Lake Garda. As a young adult, he worked in several hotels around the world. When his travels took him to Miami, he borrowed money from a friend and put down roots in the Magic City.

In 1989 Pernetti opened Caffe Abbracci. For more than 30 years, he spent almost every day at the restaurant, greeting customers like family, even celebrities like Al Pacino, Emilio and Gloria Estefan.

In December 2020, Pernetti contracted COVID. Complications from the virus led to a long hospital stay while Pernetti battled infections and lung damage. In an interview with NBC Miami last January, Pernetti seemed to have improved and his family was looking forward to his return home.

Sadly, the 76-year-old restaurateur passed away yesterday. Dozens of friends and family members posted their condolences on social media. Pernetti leaves behind two daughters, Tatiana and Katerina and his ex-wife, Marlen.

new times has a call to the restaurant and will update this story with any further information.

Abbracci coffee. 318 Aragon Avenue, Coral Gables; 305-441-0700; cafeabbracci.com.

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