Lucio Gamboni, born in Naples, Italy on May 1, 1948, is one of four children. As a young man he traveled extensively, exploring such varied locales as Canada and the Bahamas, before finally reaching Miami, Florida where he began his pursuit of the American Dream.
Lucio and Dorthy Gamboni fell in love with the mountains of WNC when they vacationed here in 1984. Living in Miami, they yearned for a quieter life where they could raise their daughters, Erika and Tanya.
Lucio brought his love of food to this area, becoming a top destination for Italian cuisine in Western North Carolina. He and Dorothy started Lucio’s in 1984 and quickly established themselves as one of Franklin’s favorite restaurants with region-wide notoriety soon to follow. The restaurant was truly a family affair with the girls helping out after school peeling garlic and making Lucio’s famous rolls.
The family started to grow with Lucio’s becoming a regular place to eat and spend time with friends and family. It also became THE place for holidays, proms, graduations and other special occasions.
On December 12, 2004, Lucio passed away. But his family decided to honor his work and his memory with his youngest daughter, Tanya, stepping in to help Dorothy keep the restaurant open. Today, the standards and traditions Lucio set are still being kept in the hearts of his family, staff, and all who eat here.