Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Sal Dell'Orto

Sal Dell'Orto, patriarch of the great, lost Manganaro's Grosseria of Hell's Kitchen, has passed away. He was 84. My warmest condolences go out to his family, especially to his daughters who made dining at Manganaro's such an unforgettable treat (no matter what some people have to say about that--and I don't want to hear it--I still miss the place terribly).

From his obituary, it's clear that Mr. Dell'Orto and Manganaro's Grosseria will always have a place in local New York City history:

"Sal was born in Manhattan and earned a scholarship to Fordham University. He graduated Cum Laude and went right to work at his family’s business; Manganaro Grosseria Italiana; purveyors of premium Italian specialty foods. His family started the famous eatery on New York’s Ninth Avenue in 1893 and Sal proudly carried the torch until 2010. Manganaro’s was truly a New York City landmark during his tenure, and Sal was the charismatic owner that all of his customers came to love.

He became personal friends with the likes of Jackie Gleason and Shecky Greene, had coffee every morning with Burt Lancaster during the filming of Tough Guys, and Frank Sinatra would request that his Prosciutto be personally sliced by Sal. The Ninth Avenue Food Festival was traditionally started with the sitting New York City mayor enjoying a meal at Manganaro’s followed by an opening ceremony on the sidewalk right out front. Sal has had lunch with Jacob Javits, Ed Koch, David Dinkins and Rudy Giuliani, just to name a few. Sal enjoyed many ‘firsts’ at Manganaro’s: first family to import Salami from Italy shortly after World War I, GQ magazine featured him in the late 1990’s wearing fine Italian suits, and he is credited with inventing the 'Six Foot Hero' sandwich in 1956. The six foot hero earned him a spot on the TV game show What’s My Line? where Sal successfully stumped the panelists. The Hormel Meats Company also used his grosseria as the set for many of their TV commercials over the years.

Needless to say, he enjoyed a lengthy career and was blessed with many wonderful and dear friends throughout the years."

Read more here


Ken Mac said...

A magnificent life, a true gentleman. He was always a peaceful, welcoming presence at Manganaros. RIP

79rigid said...

RIP Sal and Manganaro's.You will be missed.

Anonymous said...

Does no one "die" any longer?

Do we all just "pass away"?

Anonymous said...

I loved this place and miss it, warts and all. There was nothing else like it and there never will be. It doesn't get more authentic than Manganaros

Caleo said...

What a rich and wonderful life this man lived, playing an integral part in the lives of so many New Yorkers in a city that no longer exists.

DrBOP said...

My pop always gave me the cold shoulder for a couple of weeks if I had been to the city and forgot to pick him up a couple of pounds of their imported Italian salami, and my mom the same with their prosciuto(sp).
If Sal was there, he always seemed to be off-to-the-side talkin' to an Italian old-timer.....and the language always brought me back to listening to my 9 uncles and 3 aunts at Sunday afternoon family dinners. Sadly, a world no longer present in my life.
Thanks Jeremiah.