By: Leah Uko
OMAHA (KPTM) - The Losole Family had the face of its business stripped away when its head chef died in a motorcycle accident this past August. In addition to grieving, the family of Lo Sole Ristorante Italiano has been fighting off rumors that the family-owned business is closing.
"Yes it's sad losing my son. It's horrid," Don Losole continued. "No one should ever have to go through this, but he'd be disappointed if I just called it quits."
Losole helped his staff prepare food for a big dinner party coming in Thursday night. But during the day, the owner said the dining room that seats more than 200 people is empty.
He and wife, Marie said they believed business being slow was partially due to the lagging economy, but also because of the public being misinformed.
After their son, Dino Losole, 41, died in a motorcycle accident in Sturgis, South Dakota rumors on the Internet spread that the restaurant lost its touch and was planning to sell.
"What it made me realize is that I've never liked the Internet," Losole laughed.
He admitted he vented to friends and said this out of emotion--not fact.
"When my son died my whole world ended, but for them to just take it upon themselves to put it out there for public to read, shame on them."
He and Marie wanted people to "get their facts straight". They said it has been challenging to stay relevant because of the many new, chain restaurants that are opening up all around Omaha.
Lo Sole Mio has served Warren Buffet, Bill Gates, Kevin Costner, Bo Pellini and other prominent members since it opened 21 years ago. But the locally famous restaurant, Don and Marie said, had become a destination place to eat, which was good, but they wanted to remain a place that people swing by to casually eat at as well.
"We'd like to get things back to normal as much as possible."
The family believed this slow season is just a test. They said they will bounce back and Lo Sole Mio is open for business.
The restaurant, located on 32nd and Oak in south Omaha, has nearly 85 part time and full time employees. Closing, Marie said, would affect them, the family, the restaurant's long-standing good reputation and loyal customers.
"We have a lot of people that depend on us for income and we don't want to let anybody down," said Marie.
Losole reminded people that his son learned how to cook from him. And even though Dino Losole can never be replaced, the current employees and other siblings are currently all pitching in with cooking and learning the same skill their predecessor maintained.
Don and Marie were planning to retire soon, they went back into full-time work mode for one big reason: their son and family's legacy.
"Everybody loved Dino and he's always going to be missed," Don continued. "But Dino would want this restaurant to go on."