Craig Tribuno, co-owner of DaVinci’s Eatery at 150 Mill St. in Lewiston, holds a pizza Sunday afternoon that is about to go into the oven for employees who are readying the Italian restaurant for its reopening Monday. Nine days after closing its doors following a formal complaint to the state about a cockroach in the kitchen, DaVinci’s is set to resume serving lunch. Russ Dillingham/Sun Journal

LEWISTON — Nine days after closing its doors following a formal complaint to the state about a cockroach in the kitchen, DaVinci’s Eatery is scheduled to reopen Monday to serve lunch.

Co-owner Craig Tribuno said the health inspection process was completed Thursday, clearing way for the popular Italian restaurant at 150 Mill St. to reopen — after handling a variety of pre-reopening tasks and issues.

“We have to put Humpty Dumpty together again,” he said, explaining his team is coordinating with vendors and walking through a massive list of priorities before the restaurant and staff members are ready to serve customers. “We don’t have to, but we’re going to wash every dish, glass, fork, spoon in this place.”

Tribuno said they are working to replace everything they had to throw out — from spices to takeout boxes, napkins to food, and then reassemble some equipment, in addition to other things they had not even considered previously.

Earlier this week, Tribuno said the closure and remediation efforts had cost the restaurant $100,000. He has since revised that to $80,000.

Responding to a complaint received by the Maine Center for Disease Control & Prevention of a cockroach in the kitchen, Lewiston code enforcement representatives went to DaVinci’s at about noon on Saturday, Jan. 6.


According to the Maine CDC, Louis Lachance, Lewiston’s code enforcement officer for sanitation, confirmed seeing living or dead cockroaches and issued the ultimatum to close voluntarily or be forcibly shut down by the city.

In an emailed statement issued Sunday, Tribuno reiterated what he has stated all long: One live cockroach and one dead cockroach were observed in traps at the time of the sanitation code inspector’s visit Jan. 6. Lachance has not filed a report on his visit.

In several interviews last week with the Sun Journal, Tribuno said that after Pine State Pest Solutions of Auburn sprayed the restaurant, there were no signs of nests, multiple cockroaches or any other sign of infestation. He said only singular roaches were found.

The entire restaurant has since been deep cleaned and sanitized, according to Tribuno.

Tribuno said he has been working with city officials to come into code compliance and move forward, but expressed concerns about the extreme measures taken by health officials. He said he has sought reassurance from them that such a situation would not happen again.

“We were in shock, and it took a while to believe this was really happening,” Tribuno wrote in a statement Sunday. “How could this be? Does finding one roach really require the immediate closure of DaVinci’s? Is this the standard being applied to schools, hospitals, and grocery stores in Lewiston and the State of Maine?”


On Thursday, the Maine CDC issued the following statement on the complaint and response: “The Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention Health Inspection Program received a complaint about a cockroach sighting on the premises of the DaVinci’s restaurant at 150 Mill Street in Lewiston. HIP then contacted the city health inspector to follow-up on this complaint. The city inspector visited the restaurant that day, Saturday Jan. 6, confirmed the complaint after finding both live and dead cockroaches on the premises, and spoke with the co-owner of the restaurant, who acknowledged an ongoing cockroach issue at the restaurant. At that time, and after consulting with HIP, the city health inspector issued an Imminent Health Hazard finding and the co-owner voluntarily closed the restaurant. In addition, the city health inspector shared HIP’s cockroach infestation mitigation procedures with the co-owner. A contractor is providing pest control services at the restaurant and once the pest issue has been mitigated, a disinfection procedure will be conducted to address the known public health threats associated with cockroaches. Once the disinfection procedure is verified, the IHH will be lifted, and the restaurant may reopen.”

Tribuno called out the health protocol Sunday, saying the restaurant’s inspection record since 1996 and cleanliness program were not taken into consideration in the decision to declare the restaurant an imminent health hazard.

The state defines infested as “overrun with pests, in numbers or quantities large enough to be harmful or threatening to public health.”

Tribuno questions whether the city of Lewiston or state has ever forced the closure of a business after having found two roaches.

“Why did the state refuse to consider the judgement of the city inspector, not allowing him to consider or even read our report history or speak to our pest control professional?” Tribuno said Sunday. “We deeply appreciate the outpouring of public and private support from fellow food service operators, leaders of major local companies, City Council members and generations of Davinci’s patrons.”

Tribuno said after extensive conversations last week, “the Lewiston city staff and Council, the state delegation and trade association are all engaged in learning how an event like this should be managed in the future.”

He added, “We are excited to let you know that the DaVinci’s team will be here on Monday at 11:00 a.m., proud of our history and resilience, and ready to deliver the customer experience for which we are known.”

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