A sign on the front door Monday afternoon at DaVinci’s Eatery on Mill Street in Lewiston remains after it abruptly closed over the weekend. Russ Dillingham/Sun Journal

LEWISTON — Three days after suddenly closing its doors before a Saturday night, DaVinci’s Eatery has posted an explanation on its Facebook page.

Reactions to that post are overwhelmingly supportive of the restaurant for its transparency and actions.

Co-owner Craig Tribuno confirmed in a phone call with the Sun Journal on Tuesday that a complaint lodged with the state about seeing a cockroach in the kitchen brought Lewiston’s code enforcement team to the restaurant around noon Saturday.

The sanitation enforcement officer, Louis Lachance, was insistent, he said, on an immediate closure of the restaurant. Tribuno explained he was given two choices — voluntarily close or else the city would shut them down.

The restaurant’s post states it has an active pest control program in place and that it is working with the pest control company to review its pest mitigation system. Tribuno emphasized that DaVinci’s has had a pest control and mitigation program in place since opening in 1996.

“We are actively complying with all health and safety protocols required by the City and State. Our kitchen and equipment have been thoroughly cleaned and disinfected. Please know that we work tirelessly to exceed industry standards for health and food safety,” the post further states.


It’s been a very costly week for the company as a result of the closure, not just in lost business and employee wages. Tribuno said they had to throw out all the food while they cleaned and disinfected the entire restaurant, which set them back $100,000.

The restaurant said it is hoping to reopen within the week and that all 60 of its employees are being taken care of throughout the closure.

Tribuno said it is not just about the money. He said the inconvenience to patrons and lack of equity on behalf of the city is of much deeper concern.

“I can’t count on the city to be my partner,” he said, “the code (enforcement) people are driving good businesses out.”

Tribuno is not the only business owner who has shared concerns about a heavy-handed code enforcement office.

Alex Markakis and Jimmy Albert, owners of Cowbell Grill and Tap, also complained about Lewiston’s code enforcement office and ultimately decided to close their Lisbon Street business in 2023.


“We didn’t get a lot of cooperation from the city, we got a lot of regulation from the city,” Albert said in an interview with the Sun Journal last March.

DaVinci’s Eatery’s post on social media also apologizes to patrons for the sudden and unexpected closure, and the hardship and inconvenience it caused. Tribuno offered that they had to turn away a grieving family waiting to be seated when the code enforcement officer confronted them Saturday.

Tribuno said he is troubled at the handling of this complaint and will seek clarification from the state on what constitutes an infestation — is it one roach or many more? He said they did find a roach in a trap and subsequent to cleaning and additional spraying by Pine State Pest Control turned up singular cockroaches, but no nests or signs of a serious infestation.

“We have a restaurant in a 200-year-old mill building and we get deliveries of food and goods every day,” he said, insisting they run a very clean operation. “I’m trying not to overreact,” he said.

Deliveries of food and dry goods are known sources of German cockroaches in particular, according to several pest control companies.

A number of comments posted to Davinci’s Facebook page also point to the possibility of a disgruntled employee having a role in filing the complaint, something Tribuno alluded to but did not confirm to the Sun Journal.

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