On August 2nd, police arrested Gaspare Giudice, a 48-year-old San Francisco man who purchased North Beach’s Original U.S. Restaurant in 2005. Today the San Francisco Sheriff’s Department confirms that Giudice was booked into county jail on two counts of aggravated sexual assault of a child, continuous sexual abuse of a child under 14, sexual intercourse or sodomy with a child 10 or younger, and oral copulation or penetration with a child. He is being held on $3-million bail with a scheduled court date of August 21.
“The victim was merely five years old when this conduct was alleged to have begun,” said Maxwell Szabo, communications and legislative affairs manager for District Attorney George Gascón. “These highly disturbing allegations warrant very serious charges.”
A representative of the San Francisco Public Defender’s office confirms that a public defender is representing Giudice against those charges. Giudice appeared in court but his arraignment has been delayed so that he has time to find an Italian interpreter, as his English is reportedly very limited.
Until his arrest, Giudice worked at The Original U.S. Restaurant, which stands for “Unione Sportiva” in reference to North Beach athletic clubs. The institution is over 125 years old. In 2005, former owners Anna and Alberto Cipollina retired and sold the restaurant to Giudice and Benjamin Ruiz, who subsequently moved it from its previous home to 515 Columbus Avenue. It closed unexpectedly at that address in 2015, and several months later, Alberto Cipollina (whose wife had passed away) returned to resurrect the restaurant with San Francisco Giants executive vice president of business operations Mario Alioto. Cipollina reopened the restaurant at its current 414 Columbus Avenue location and kept Guidice onboard.
Reached today by phone, Cipollina disputes that Giudice is currently a co-owner of the restaurant, calling him a “coworker” and “floor manager.”
“I’m shocked to hear what happened,” said Cipollina. “I still don’t believe it. I didn’t know Gaspare to be that kind of person.”
Stay tuned for more details as this story evolves.