April 14, 2009

Bacco Owner Missing in Hawaii

SF restaurant owner missing in Hawaii
John King, Chronicle Staff Writer

(04-13) 21:22 PDT San Francisco -- The owner of a popular Noe Valley restaurant is missing in Hawaii, where he entered the ocean on a spear-fishing expedition and never returned.

Paolo Dominici of San Francisco was reported missing on Saturday in the waters off a condominium cluster in Kailua-Kona, where he was vacationing with his wife and daughter.

Dominici and a friend went into the calm waters together but became separated. Search teams have since recovered the mask, snorkel and a portion of Dominici's swim gear, but there has been no sighting of Dominici himself.

"We terminated the search today pending any new leads or developments," Reuben Chun, a battalion chief for the fire department on the big island, said Monday evening. "We don't have a comprehensive picture of what might have happened to him."

The Sunset District resident is the owner of Bacco Ristorante on Diamond Street in Noe Valley, a neighborhood fixture since it opened in 1993. Bacco made the Chronicle's list of Top 100 Restaurants in 2004; last year, on KQED's "Check, Please!," Dominici spoke proudly of making all Bacco's pasta and bread in-house.

The trip to Hawaii has been an annual ritual for Dominici and his family: "He loves the sea, the ocean, spear fishing," said Luca Zanet, a waiter at the restaurant since 1995. Zanet described his longtime employer and friend as "soft-mannered, a very nice person ... Everybody likes him."
Update: The family has called off the search.

[SFGate: SF restaurant owner missing in Hawaii]
[SFGate: Noe Valley grieves for missing restaurateur]


Anonymous said...

Thanks for sharing this.

Did you find out before the Chronicle because your time is earlier than the article? How did you find out?

Noe Valley, SF said...

We read it on SFGate this morning. Our post of 6:33am references the Chron article from yesterday evening at 11:22pm.

Lisa Paul said...

This is so sad. Bacco was easily one of the best restaurants in San Francisco, yet still had a warm neighborhood vibe. Mostly because of Paolo's elegant, welcoming presence. Our hearts and prayers go out to his family.