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Iconic restaurant known for its ‘Eggplant Babies’ closing after 40 years

By Jennifer Lifsey and Madeline Montgomery

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    SMYRNA, Georgia (WGCL) — A popular dining spot in Smyrna is closing its doors after over 40 years of business.

“It’s such a sad time,” says Founder Joe Bogino.

Scalini’s Italian Restaurant on Cobb Parkway made the big announcement on its website and Facebook page Monday, thanking the community for all of their support throughout the years. Bogino tells CBS46 that they had to close due to struggles finding staff.

Scalini’s is known for its famous eggplant parmigiana that has been served to expectant mothers for decades in hopes of speeding up the delivery process.

“One gal or two came in, happened to eat the eggplant, delivered their baby, I think they started telling people of that occurrence and it just caught on all by itself,” said Bogino. “Do I believe this induces labor? I believe my customer! They tell me it induces labor; I believe them!”

So much so that they even created an “Eggplant Baby Club” where those who gave birth not long after eating Scalini’s eggplant dish could send photos to be added to the restaurant’s famous “Baby Wall” of pictures.

“I guess I didn’t realize until recently how much it meant to everyone. We ran it like a business and people didn’t take it as a business. This is their home away from home, I guess, their comfort food, their place to celebrate, and it meant a lot to them and it means even more to us,” said Bogino.

For those who can’t seem to part with Scalini’s delicious food, the restaurant said in a Facebook post:

“If you get hungry for our world famous salad and garlic rolls, they are served by our sister restaurants, Provino’s Italian Restaurants. Provino’s will honor your Scalini’s gift certificates. Visit the website, for locations and hours of the seven locations of Provino’s. Provino’s serves the famous eggplant parmigiana that has been served to expectant mothers at Scalini’s for decades in hopes of speeding up the delivery process. Provino’s also serves the complimentary pasta specialty dinner to you on your birthday just like Scalini’s did. Thanks again for allowing us to stay in Smyrna for such a long time and we hope you find us at Provino’s. We look forward to serving you there!”

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