Friends and family said farewell to Louis Barbati today at the pizza maker’s funeral at Saint Ephrem’s Catholic Church in Dyker Heights today.
A flower arrangement in the shape of a Rangers jersey marked with the word “Uncle” and another with an L&B Spumoni Gardens sign accompanied the hearse down Fort Hamilton Parkway at around 11:30am.
About 100 mourners attended the solemn affair. Four police officers patrolled the area and news crews lurked across the street from the church. L&B fans who did not know Barbati also watched the procession with their small children from across the street.
As we’ve reported, 61-year-old co-owner of Gravesend’s iconic pizzeria L&B Spumoni Gardens was shot to death behind his 12th Avenue home on Thursday, June 30.
Two theories have emerged regarding the killing. Chief of Detectives Robert Boyce has said authorities are treating the incident as a “botched robbery” since Barbati was carrying $10,000 at the time. Another source told the New York Times the slaying was possibly related restaurant’s alleged rivalry with a Staten Island pizza joint that allegedly ripped off L&B’s iconic sauce.
L&B Spumoni Gardens, located at 2725 86th Street, has been owned by the Barbatis for four generations. Many who knew Barbati and his family took to social media and Bensonhurst Bean’s comments section this weekend to express grief and share stories about the beloved restauranteur. They recalled Barbati as a kind and jovial man who always had a friendly greeting for his customers.
“Our boys are friends, and we won a baseball championship together,” writes Sean F on Bensonhurst Bean. “We are very upset that such an amazingly nice guy could be killed in his own yard like this. I really hope the police find his killer. Our prayers are with the Barbati family.”
Commenter Rosalie added, “My favorite pizza and, in fact, was going to go there tonight but thought they’d be closed. How sad and shocking. I had a cousin who worked there many years ago and he’s still remembered by them. May Louis RIP and I hope they catch whoever did this. Hope the family can find comfort in the memories they have of him and my sincere condolences to them.”
Despite the tragedy, the restaurant opened as usual at 11am Friday morning. Some employees were seen wiping tears away as they set up tables. The Barbati family have asked for privacy from fans, friends, and media outlets as they grieve the sudden loss.
Two viewings were held at Scarpaci Funeral Home, blocks away from the pizza restaurant, on Sunday and Monday afternoon. L&B Spumoni Gardens will be closed today out of respect for Louis, according to the restaurant’s website. Below are some photos from today’s funeral. Our sincerest condolences go out to family and friends.