By Dee Longfellow

For The Elmhurst Independent

Gambino joins past “Friends”
Some of the recipients of the ECAF Friend of the Children award over the years came out for the Elmhurst Children’s Assistance Foundation’s 25th annual Golf Classic and Awards Dinner held on Friday, Aug. 20 at Fox Run Golf Links. This year’s honoree was Tony Gambino, pictured here (3rd from left) holding the award with ECAF president Kevin Diamond. Pictured are (from left): Rich Rosenberg, Dr. John “Doc Jev” Jevitz, Mike LaSpisa (behind Diamond), Pete DiCianni and Dan Roesch, representing his father Larry who passed away.

It may have been a hot, sticky day, but that didn’t stop a full house of golfers to come out and enjoy the Elmhurst Children’s Assistance Foundation’s 25th annual Golf Classic and Awards Dinner held on Friday, Aug.

20 at Fox Run Golf Links.

Following a day of golf and dinner at the clubhouse, ECAF presented its annual Friend of the Children award to Elmhurst resident and local restauranteur Tony Gambino.

Kevin Diamond served as Master of Ceremonies and helped present the golf awards along with Jeff Crum and Dan Sullivan. Dr. Michael Sullivan was the guest speaker followed by Jim Bowen, who gave the presentation of the Friend of the Children award to Gambino.

More about Tony Gambino

“I was brought in to get involved in ECAF by Pete DiCianni, who introduced me to the charity,” Gambino told the Independent in a previous interview. “I had three kids of my own in Elmhurst schools and had coached sports with them. [As a restaurant group], we got into supporting teams, leagues and school events. My kids [Tony, 22, Roxy, 19, and Ally, 18] are now all in college.” (DiCianni was previously named an ECAF “Friend of the Children.”)

At HB Jones, Gambino has sponsored the “No-Frills” Fun Run every year, an effort that gives to a different charity each year. 

“We don’t care if we make money on a charity event; it’s enough to make it a wash,” he said. “I’d rather not write a check, I’d rather provide food, host an event, or give food or gift certificates. We’ve been involved in the Ray Graham Association golf outing, ECAF of course, and one of my favorites—the Kick Off for Kids golf outing led by [Elmhurst resident] Mike LaSpisa.” LaSpisa was also formerly recognized by ECAF as a “Friend of the Children.”

Gambino also gets involved in the Ride for M.S. in the City every year.

If anyone needs a venue for an outing or an event, feel free to contact Gambino. His restaurants are also willing to take part in an “Eat & Earn” program where a portion of a diner’s check is rebated to the charity. 

On the business end of things, Gambino recently started “Delivery First,” the first-ever flat fee dining delivery service for area restaurants here in Elmhurst and in Oak Park.

Meanwhile, mark your calendar because ECAF will likely be back next year for its 26th golf outing. For more information, visit


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