Volume 15, Issue 76  |  September 22, 2023SubscribeAdvertise

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Antonio Torres, long-time Gina’s Pizza manager, faces family struggle


Those who frequent Gina’s Pizza on Oak Street know Antonio Torres. As manager for more than 20 years, Torres has made this restaurant such a warm gathering place for everyone – with of course, really good food. While delivery is always a treat, often customers opt to pick up just to chat with Torres and enjoy the familiar and welcoming vibe.

“I’m from Mexico, and I came to United States in the 1980s,” Torres said. “I've been employed by Gina’s Pizza for over 35 years now. I’m also a father and have been married for almost 30 years. My daughter, Audrey, after working her way up at Gina’s Newport, works at this location too.”

At this point in time, his role as father is what brings Torres to the attention of readers. His family is struggling with an unbearable tragedy. Torres just lost his 28-year-old son, Eros, to a fentanyl overdose, and the family is working through paying the funeral bills and raising Eros’ son, Sonny, who is 6 years old.

Antonio Torres Gina sign

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Photos by Paula Olson

Antonio Torres has been manager of Gina’s Pizza for 20 years

“I’m just a normal guy and have never been in a position like this,” he said. Clearly talking about his family is not something he’s used to doing. However, Torres feels he needs to speak up to raise awareness about the dangers of Fentanyl.

“Eros turned 28 years old last month,” Torres said. “He started working with me here at Gina’s when he was 12. It was a really nice experience and customers thought it was kind of cute, so they were tipping him. When he was 15, I felt like I was doing the right thing for him, because he was already showing responsibility with money. Eros was a nice and giving guy, he would take his food from his mouth to feed somebody else who needed it. He was there to help, and he always tried to make me proud of him.

“He started choosing a different type of way to live, and it wasn't going to take him anywhere.

Antonio Torres with menu

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Torres fills Gina’s Pizza with a warm and inviting atmosphere

“The main reason I decided to talk about it is that I want parents and their kids to be aware of the dangers of the drug fentanyl. I don’t say we can stop it, but at least we need to have more control of what’s going right now. Before my son passed away, we tried rehabs. We’d call 911. We’d have heart-to-heart conversations, but once kids get connected with this type of drug, it’s so hard to get out.

“What I’m hoping is to make people conscious of how we all need to come together and try to do something about it – how we can handle it in such a way so that our kids can be drug free – especially of this type of drug, which often is lethally laced with substances that our kids never intended to take, never intended to get involved with. And because this is happening multiple times every day in our communities.

“My family and I already have to deal with this bad experience, but it’s heartbreaking to know there are more many other families who are going to go through this.”

The Torres family is so grateful for the support they have receiving. Their road ahead is a tough one.

Perhaps the next time pizza is on the menu at your house, you’ll opt to stop by to pick up your order and share a hello with Antonio and Audrey.

As Antonio said, “Life is precious; hug your loved ones.”

To donate, go to https://www.gofundme.com/f/eros-torres.

For more information on CHOC’s website about “What parents should know about fentanyl,” go here.


Shaena Stabler, President & CEO - Shaena@StuNewsLaguna.com

Lana Johnson, Editor - Lana@StuNewsLaguna.com

Tom Johnson, Publisher - Tom@StuNewsLaguna.com

Dianne Russell is our Associate Editor.

Michael Sterling is our Webmaster & Designer.

Mary Hurlbut and Scott Brashier are our photographers.

Alexis Amaradio, Dennis McTighe, Marrie Stone, Sara Hall, Suzie Harrison and Theresa Keegan are our writers and/or columnists.

In Memoriam - Stu Saffer and Barbara Diamond.

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