Over the summer, Luigi De Nunzio's 'Al Boccalino' restaurant was moved a block away from its decades-long home near the Alaskan Way Viaduct.
Claiming negative impacts from ongoing construction on the Viaduct replacement tunnel and the seawall project, De Nunzio was frequently interviewed leading up to the relocation. He said business had dried up. He and his co-owner and wife Angela Williams stopped paying themselves and let their health insurance lapse.
However, once two restaurants were closed and merged into one, there seemed to be light at the end of the proverbial tunnel.
On December 30, that changed.
"He should be dead," said Williams. "The doctor came right out and said, 'He should be dead. I don't know why he's still here.'"
De Nunzio suffered a massive heart attack. For 19 days, he has been hospitalized at the Swedish Cherry Hill campus.
"The amount of stress in opening up a new restaurant, closing two, and still dealing with the Bertha aftermath has been really difficult," said Williams.
Adding to the stress is not having health insurance. Williams and her husband decided to pay their employees rather than keep their insurance up-to-date. It was supposed to restart in February. Now, the costs are adding up.
Knowing this, family friends have setup a GoFundMe page to help. Williams said she still has not seen it.
"Luigi has helped a lot of people," she said, "He's changed a lot of lives. If people want to help, this is a way they can do it."
Williams said her husband has a long recovery ahead, but his health is improving.
"He's becoming grumpy," she joked. "That's a good sign. He's swearing in Italian. So all is well."