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