LAUDERDALE-BY-THE-SEA (CBSMiami) – Investigators are looking into who left an explosive device outside a Broward restaurant on Christmas eve.
The device exploded just moments after the restaurant had closed.
Restaurant owner Giannino Di Costanzo got a phone call first thing Christmas morning from his landlord who told him about the explosion. The night before, just before midnight, Di Costanzo closed his restaurant and went home. He said when he was just a few blocks away he heard an explosion, but just kept going.
“But never I think it’s my restaurant,” he told CBS4’s Donna Rapado. “I said to my son, ‘Strange, Christmas Eve and the people use fireworks.'”
When Di Costanzo learned the explosion was actually at his restaurant on Commercial Boulevard, he immediately went there to check the damage.
From the hole at the bottom of the door, black soot remained splattered across the floor and door, the blast scattered chairs and tables inside. It also broke light fixtures on the patio.
Di Costanzo was up front with his customers Christmas night, letting them know what had happened.
“We come quite often to this area,” said customer Johnny Zighelboim as he finished dinner with his wife. “We don’t know yet what really happened. So they have to find out. He told us the FBI was here.”
Di Costanzo said he’s already seen an impact from the explosion – dozens of cancellations.
“Since yesterday, we receive a lot of cancellation and no reservation,” he said. “I don’t know why. We are a victim.”
Seasonal resident Barbara Malseed hopes people who live in this town – and people here to visit – rally around DiCostanzo and his restaurant.
“The gentleman was so kind and nice the way he interviewed that there is no reason to not support him,” Malseed said. “He could’ve been very angry and inside, maybe he was, but I want us all to support him.”
Di Costanzo and his family move to Lauderdale-by-the-Sea from Naples, Italy three years ago. He opened his Giannino Italian Restaurant just seven months ago. He said in that short amount of time the restaurant has done very well and he doesn’t understand who would do something like this.
“All the world say Napoli is a dangerous city,” said Di Costanzo. “OK, I lived in a dangerous city. I come to Lauderdale-by-the-Sea, which for me is like Switzerland. And it’s incredible for me. I am worried for my family because it’s a family business. I run the business with my two sons and my wife. And I don’t know the reason. I have no debt or litigation for anyone.”