Caputo’s Fine Foods owner Giuseppe Caputo passed away on Friday, his son confirmed.
The beloved food-maker and grocer was 83. The loss left his son momentarily speechless.
“I don’t know what to say. I’m blank,” said Frank Caputo, who would not divulge how his father died.
The late Caputo emigrated from Mola di Bari, Italy in 1972. He founded the gourmet shop on Court Street the following year with his wife, who died in 2007. He was renowned for making fresh blocks of mozzarella and pasta in the store and treating his customers like family, according to an owner of a neighboring Italian eatery.
“He was a good man — nice, very friendly,” said Joe Chirico, proprietor of Marco Polo Ristorante, which opened two blocks away from Caputo’s one year after Caputo’s. “He was a very good chef.”
Making mozzarella was Caputo’s passion, his son said.
The store Caputo’s offers an array of oil-soaked breads, thick-cut meats, cheeses, and other mouth-watering Italian delicacies. The shop was born when Caputo became fed up with working for other people and decided to buy the Court Street building, his son told the food blog Nona Brooklyn in 2011. Caputo and his wife started off selling only six types of cheese, a few varieties of olives, and cans of tomatoes. Then came the cold cuts and pasta, and the following that has made the store a neighborhood mainstay.
The regular customers lit up his days, his son said.
“He loved the people that came in,” Frank Caputo said.
The shop briefly closed for Caputo’s wake at a funeral home in Carroll Gardens on Sunday, but reopened on Wednesday with Frank Caputo at the helm.
Caputo is survived by Frank and his other son, Vito.