Monday, May 8, 2017

Former Colonie restaurateur Fred Grimaldi dies at 78

Fred Grimaldi
Fred Grimaldi, the former Colonie restaurateur who returned to his home Syracuse market for a long run, has died of lung cancer at the age of 78.

His daughter, Rita Grimaldi, said an operation to remove a lung went well, but he died Monday of complications from the surgery.

Grimaldi grew up living over and working in his parents' operation, Grimaldi's Restaurant, on Bleecker Street in Utica. In the 1960s and 1970s, he opened restaurants in Colonie, New Hartford and Utica. The 1553 Central Avenue, Colonie, venue currently is occupied by Delmonico's Italian Steakhouse. Grimaldi also opened Grimaldi's Restaurant in Syracuse in 1968.

Grimaldi's family came from Sicily, and the family's dishes became favorites of Syracuse-area consumers. Eventually he would open Johnnie's Open Hearth, and later Pasta Ceci and Grimaldi's Chop House on Carrier Circle in Syracuse.

"He taught a lot of people the business," Rita Grimaldi told "He had a lot of people who opened up their own restaurants from his teachings. He was proud of that."

Grimaldi retired 16 years ago and was living with his wife, Mary, in Florida during the winters and returning to Syracuse in summers. This winter, he came back to Syracuse before the holidays to seek treatment, his daughter said.
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