Saturday, December 29, 2012

Farewell to those we lost in 2012

The Capital Region lost a a large number of people in the world of food, beverages and hospitality during 2012.

Among them, in chronological order of their death:

Americo “Merf” Aragosa: The retired General Electric engineer and husband of Cornell’s restaurant owner JoAnn Cornell Aragosa was a fixture at her Schenectady restaurant, playing his 120-bass Ferrari model accordion there. He died January 5 at the age of 81.

Anthony DeFazio
• Anthony DeFazio: The patriarch of the Troy family of food purveyors -- operating as A. DeFazio’s Imports and also DeFazio’s Wood Fired Pizzeria -- died February 5 at age 95. The native of Italy, who came here at age 13, also worked for major reforms in U.S. immigration law.

John Wisniewski: “Johnny Wiz,” as he was known, died February 5 at the age of 60 after a lengthy battle with liver cancer. He was regarded by many as one of the metro area’s top bartenders, He held forth at such establishments as Justin's, McGuire's and Dale Miller (now Taste) in Albany, 43 Phila in Saratoga Springs and MezzaNotte Ristorante in Guilderland.

Bob Carney: The Long Island native, who was owner-operator, with his wife Rosemary, of Carney’s Tavern in Ballston Lake for 30 years, died on February 22 at the age of 71.

Robert Zautner
Robert Zautner Sr.: The owner-operator of the iconic Toll Gate Ice Cream in Slingerlands died on February 22 at the age of 81. He had worked fulltime in the family restaurant until late October 2011.

Tom Genovese: The 38-year-old owner of the Sunspot Café in Albany died in a motorcycle accident on March 13.

Fred Buonanno: Known as “Fred the Butcher," the name of his meat markets for 30 years including the current operation in Halfmoon, died April 22 at age 71.

Anthony “Tony” Schillaci: The founder of Carbonic Sales & Service, which provided beverage-dispensing equipment and ice machines to Capital Region restaurants for more than 60 years, died April 23 at the age of 84. He also owned the On the Shelf bar in the former DeWitt Clinton Hotel in downtown Albany in the 1980s and was past vice president of the National Beverage Dispensing Equipment Association.

Bobby Silva
Israel “Bobby” Silva: The co-owner of Bangkok Bistro in Schenectady died June 23 in a bizarre workplace accident when his head became stuck in a dumbwaiter he was working on and the device crushed him. He was 30.

Larry Bogdanow: The Manhattan architect, 64, was known for designing such famous New York City restaurants as Union Square Café, Union Pacific, Savoy and Wild Blue, on the 107th floor of the World Trade Center. The resident of Chatham, Columbia County, where he was a part-time farmer and proponent of the slow food movement, died June 27.

Henry Junco: The longtime local restaurateur, 86, died June 29 at his Florida home. At one time, he was a major player on the local restaurant scene with interests in such establishments as The Golden Fox in Colonie, Quintessence in Albany and Stone Ends in Glenmont.

Jim “Red” Carr III: The former restaurateur, 63, died July 7. He owned a number of restaurants in Saratoga Springs, Troy and, in Albany, Hilary's, Hurley's and McGeary's.

Nicole Plisson
Nicole Plisson: One of the leading personalities in the Capital Region restaurant scene died July 29 at age 72 after a years-long battle with cancer. She was best known for managing L'Auberge, a classical French spot in downtown Albany, then emerging as owner-manager of Nicole’s Bistro at Quackenbush House before her failing health forced her to retire.

Jarid Valenti: Jarid, who died August 6, worked at Villa Valenti, his family’s Wynantskill restaurant, and operated the business’s social media activities.

Pat McHenry: The popular bar manager, 49, at Franklin’s Tower in Albany on October 12. He was known as a trivia expert in local club contest circles.

Cliff Brown: The co-owner, with wife Jane, of the Miss Albany Diner, died October 31 at the age of 83. The Browns ran the standing-room-only operation for more than two decades in the city’s warehouse district

Sal DiCarlo: The founder of DiCarlo’s Gentlemen’s Club in Colonie,which he operated for more than 20 years, died November 4. He was 81.

Art Ginsburg
Guido “Butch” Lippera: The co-owner, with wife Monica, of Lipperas Chatham House in the Columbia County village, died November 7 at age 71. He had opened the original Pizza Den in 1964 in Chatham (it eventually became the Italian Delight in Ghent). In 1987, he operated Lippera’s Pre-Owned Autos and Jensen’s Tire and Oil until 2001, when he decided to re-enter the restaurant business. In 2002, he opened Lippera’s Restaurant, while next door he restored The Chatham House, a historic place of business for more than 150 years.

Art Ginsberg: The Troy native, 81, who created the “Mr. Food” persona that came to national notice during a long-running TV cooking series, died November 21 of pancreatic cancer at his Florida home.

Go here for the region’s best local food & drinks events calendar.

1 comment:

  1. M. Hall writes:

    Wasn’t Mr. Wisniewski also known for his time at Pauly’s Hotel? I also believe he made a significant appearance in the book “O Albany” when William Kennedy interviewed him about the bar and the neighborhood.