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Three Veteran NYC Restaurateurs Die Due to Coronavirus

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All three restaurateurs were owners of beloved, decades-old neighborhood establishments

The exterior of a restaurant with a rounded red awning that reads Mario’s
Mario’s Restaurant owner Joseph Migliucci is one of three NYC restaurateurs that have died from COVID-19 related complications this month
Robert Sietsema/Eater

Three more NYC restaurateurs who owned beloved, decades-old establishments died from complications related to COVID-19 in April.

Joseph Migliucci, the owner of the more than 100-year-old Bronx red sauce Italian joint Mario’s Restaurant died from the virus on April 5, the Bronx Times reports. He was 81. Migliucci, who had lung disease, was admitted to the hospital on March 31, and died six days later, his daughter tells the Bronx Times.

Another Bronx restaurateur, Jose Torres, also died from the virus this month, according to the Bronx Times, but it’s not yet clear when exactly. Torres was 73 and otherwise in good health, a friend of the restaurateur tells the newspaper. Torres was the chef and owner of popular Parkchester Latin American restaurant Joe’s Place, which he opened in 1999. He had plans to revamp the restaurant before the pandemic hit the city, and the state mandated a shutdown on dining-in, his friend tells the Bronx Times. Both Migliucci and Torres’ restaurants have remained closed since the shutdown.

Over in Brooklyn, bar owner and beloved neighborhood figure Joe Joyce died from the virus on April 9 at the age of 74, the Brooklyn Paper reports. Joyce ran Bay Ridge tavern JJ Bubbles for 42 years. Joyce and his wife traveled on a cruise to Spain from Florida on March 1 and returned on March 14, though it’s not clear if he contracted the virus on the cruise.

Joyce was admitted to the hospital on March 27 with low oxygen levels, according to the New York Times and died nearly two weeks later. He too was in relatively good health before contracting the virus — he did not smoke and stopped drinking entirely four years after opening his bar.

All three restaurateurs were large presences in their neighborhoods and locals sought their establishments for a sense of community. Migliucci’s restaurant has been operated by five generations of his family, and Joyce’s spot was a de-facto gay bar in a relatively conservative neighborhood.

The three restaurateurs are now the latest NYC industry figures to die from the virus in the past month. Legendary Italian butcher Joe Albanese died from COVID-19 related complications in early April, a few weeks after trailblazing chef Floyd Cardoz and Tribeca restaurateur Andreas Koutsoudakis also died from complications related to the virus.