St. Johns Gabagool Italian Restaurant Closing July 17

Nine years ago, Ryan Sherman and Peter Fischer opened a food cart in northern Mississippi specializing in Italian sandwiches and pastas. It became something of a cult favorite, sparking Reddit fervor and eventually building enough momentum to open a full restaurant in St. Johns. When it opened, there were few other restaurants in the neighborhood serving pasta, let alone handmade pasta; it was certainly the only place in the neighborhood selling piadina, Italian flatbread sandwiches filled with capicola – also known as gabagool, the restaurant’s namesake.

On July 17, however, the restaurant will close, according to a post on the restaurant’s Instagram. “We were unable to come to an agreement on a lease for our space,” the post read. “We can’t even express how we feel right now, and how much we appreciate the support we’ve received from this community.”

For five and a half years, St. Johns residents have sat on Gabagool’s patio twirling bites of pappardelle and bites of potato gnocchi. The restaurant cooked its own pancetta, made its own sausage, and hung homemade pasta to try around its kitchen, for dishes like tagliatelle with braised spring rabbit or spaghetti al’ Amatriciana with homemade guanciale. At the bar, infused simple syrups and homemade limoncello would land in the cocktails, along with standards like the Campari.

At the start of the pandemic, Gabagool closed briefly, before reopening for takeout in May 2020, eventually adding outdoor seating on the large outdoor patio. In early 2021, Sherman and Fischer pulled out their old Gabagool truck and opened Whiz, a cheesesteak cart, on southeast Belmont. The restaurant reopened for indoor dining in the summer of 2021.

“We don’t know what’s in our future, but we’re really happy to have had this experience, the roller coaster that it has been,” reads Instagram. “We would like to fill these last two weeks of service with good times and positive memories, so if you have the opportunity, please stop by to say hello and goodbye. We’d love to see you.

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