By Max McGee

BALTIMORE (WJZ) — One of Baltimore’s Italian restaurants is getting a brand new look thanks to pro-football Hall of Famer Ray Lewis.

Lewis cut the ribbon at Lew Gambino’s, the former Ciao Bella restaurant, on Monday in Little Italy.

The NFL player is partnering up with owner Tony Gambino, and it’s not just a business move for Lewis, it’s a family one.

“I think one of the testaments of the Gambino family is the way Tony has always treated me was something special,”

Lewis’ relationship dates back with Gambino for over a decade and said he still remembers when he would come visit after playing on Sundays, even after he broke his toe.

“When I knew this man was genuine and when he had a certain love for me was when every time I would come after a game, he was the only restaurant ever that would have a bucket of Epsom salt sitting there waiting for me with a cold tub beside it,” Lewis said.

The Italian staple has been in the city for nearly 30 years. Inside, new pictures blending class and tradition with gridiron glory. The new name pays tribute to both Ray and the original owners.

Competition breeds excellence, they said, and it’s something the Ravens great wants to keep in Baltimore.

“That’s what makes our communities worth it because when it’s all family-oriented, guess what- everybody wants to freakin’ take care of it because we’re all a part of it and if we keep that formula going, then we can keep making the city a better place,” Lewis said.

Gambino said Ray Lewis is his guardian angel. The new place opens up to the public Tuesday at 3 p.m.

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