Chef Massimo Fabbri in the dining room of his restaurant, San Lorenzo, in Washington’s Shaw neighborhood. (Scott Suchman for The Washington Post)

Massimo Fabbri, chef and owner of San Lorenzo Ristorante and Bar in Shaw, was arrested recently in a Delaware beach town on cocaine possession and other charges, according to a police report. Police searched both Fabbri and a female companion and allegedly found 191 grams of cocaine, with a street value of $19,100, in their possession. Authorities also allegedly found $3,201 in cash.


Massimo Fabbri (Photo from the Lewes Police Department)

Because of the amount of cocaine allegedly in their possession, Fabbri and his companion, Christina Lombardi, were charged with a “tier 5” felony, which carries the most severe penalties in Delaware. They were also arrested in a school zone, considered an aggravating factor in the state. By state statute, anyone in possession of more than 15 grams of cocaine (considered “tier 3”) is automatically charged with drug dealing.

The Lewes Police Department did not return phone calls seeking comment. But according to the report, they responded to a 911 call about an alleged domestic dispute at around 7:30 a.m. on May 30. In Lewes’s Highland Acres neighborhood, they pulled over Fabbri in a gray BMW X5 and allegedly noticed he was bruised and scratched. Lewes police called Delaware State Police to assist, and they apparently found Lombardi walking on a nearby street, also allegedly with minor injuries.

When police searched Fabbri and Lombardi, they allegedly discovered the cocaine and cash, along with drug paraphernalia. Fabbri and Lombardi were charged with multiple offenses, including possession of a controlled substance and possession with intent to distribute, and the BMW was seized as evidence.

When Fabbri, 40, was contacted by phone for comment, he replied, “It’s not a good moment right now.” A spokeswoman for San Lorenzo, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because she’s not authorized to speak about the incident, called back. According to the spokeswoman, Fabbri said that he was not in possession of the drugs and that his lawyer expects the case to be dropped.


Christina Lombardi (Lewes Police Department)

Fabbri is a longtime D.C. chef who first came to prominence at Tosca, the downtown Italian fine-dining destination favored by the city’s power players. In 2018, Fabbri decided to go out on his own. He took over the former Thally restaurant in Shaw and turned it into San Lorenzo, named after the chef’s son and his favorite neighborhood in Florence. According to his official bio, Fabbri grew up in Monsummano Terme, about 30 miles northwest of Florence.

In early May, former president Barack Obama and several past members of his administration enjoyed a four-hour tasting menu at San Lorenzo. If history is any indication, Fabbri was one of Obama’s favorite Washington chefs. The president had previously dined at Tosca under Fabbri’s watch and had the chef cook at the White House.

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