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SMITH: Ciao for now, sweet Portofino

Caff?Portofino isn't at all a playful, upbeat place this afternoon.

Employees of the landmark Santa Rosa bar and restaurant were told it will go out of business tonight after closing time.

The beloved Fourth Street restaurant will re-open under new ownership, but when that will happen no one knows.

Founded in 1987 where Courthouse Caf?had been, Portofino grieved but survived the death in 2000 of co-owner Victor Belmonte. His parents, Vittorio and Maria, and brother Henry sold the business in 2002 to Bob Musante, who found little in the neighborly, tasteful operation to change.

Another sale has been half-anticipated since Musante died in January.

It's far too early to say what lies ahead for the 26-year-old watering hole and eating place.

"There's a sense of loss right now," said regular Michael Hyman of the Pawn Advantage shop down the block.


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