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Wednesday, July 17, 2024

Italian restaurant closed after 50 years in Ocala

An iconic Italian restaurant that opened in Ocala over 50 years ago has now been closed for nearly six months.

Lorito's Italian Kitchen is now closed in Ocala
Lorito’s Italian Kitchen has closed its location in Ocala.

Lorito’s Italian Kitchen officially closed its doors at 1801 E Silver Springs Boulevard over the summer.

Located in the Ocala Center shopping plaza, the restaurant was founded and named after Gaspard Benito Lorito, who opened the business in 1970. Lorito passed away on December 31, 2018 at the age of 78.

Since its closure earlier this year, the restaurant has been vacated and the iconic sign along E Silver Springs Blvd has been removed.

Lorito's iconic candle sign along East Silver Springs Boulevard
Lorito’s iconic sign along East Silver Springs Boulevard has been removed.

In March 2019, a few months after Lorito’s death, the business was purchased by L and B Creations, LLC, an Ocala-based corporation led by Willis and Lisa Lentz.

According to its website, the Lentz couple ran the operation with their son and niece and had hoped to “uphold [the] legacy” of the Lorito family.

Over the past several months, fans of the restaurant have taken to social media to share memories about the restaurant, which was open for a total of 53 years.

Lorito's Italian Kitchen in Ocala
Lorito’s Italian Kitchen was located at 1801 East Silver Springs Boulevard in Ocala.

“Breaks my heart knowing that you closed, [Lorito’s] was a part of my life since I was 20 years old. Loved Gaspard like my own father and working for him was definitely an experience I’ll never forget,” reads a post from Marie P.

“Please reopen this legendary place! 53 years, awesome food. Pizza is absolutely delicious just like New England! Please consider something to keep this restaurant running,” reads a post from Jeffrey S.

Do you have memories and experiences at Lorito’s that you’d like to share? Leave a comment below or send us a Letter to the Editor.