Like any other Thursday night, on June 30, 2016 Louis Barbati finished up his work around 6;30 p.m. at L&B Spumoni Gardens, a popular Brookyln pizzeria that he has owned for years. After gaining the trust of local foodies and garnering an impressive write up in The New York Times, L&B Spumoni Gardens was well on their way to NYC pizza hall of fame. Everything changed that evening when Barbati arrived at his Brooklyn home were a masked gunman approached and shot him five times.
As investigators began to piece together the puzzle of this suspected attempted robbery, they noted glaring inconsistencies that suggested otherwise. Unlike most robbery attempts, Barbati was left for dead while still wearing flashy jewelry and nearly $10,000 in cash. With his last breath, Barbati shouted for his wife who found him struggling for life at the backdoor to their Southern Brooklyn home.
‘I ran up and he was face-down on the stairs,’ a neighbor told the New York Daily News. ‘I saw blood on the stairs and blood on his back,’
Despite his wife’s swift effort, Louis Barbati was pronounced dead at the scene and the shooter quickly fled from the area. Although no arrests have been made, investigators believe there’s a strong possibility that that the murder was a hit that could represent years worth of rivalry. While the pizza shop dates back to the 1950s, they encountered the most attention back in 2012. That year, the restaurant was featured on an episode of the popular Food Network series, Man v. Food while simultaneously engaging in a mob-style war over a stolen pizza sauce recipe.
Although he was formally acquitted, Barbati’s son-in-law Frank Guerra responded to charges that he was extorting the owner of a rival pizzeria in the years prior after they allegedly stole L&B’s famed pizza sauce recipe. Witnesses in that case also stated that the rival pizzeria was displaying a sign that boasted about their pizza being similar to that of L&B Spumoni Gardens. The New York Police department is still conducting interviews to determine if the pizza recipe feud played a part in Barbati’s death but as details unfold about Thursday evening, a suspected robbery continues to look more and more like a revenge plot that cost Louis Barbarti his life.