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Legendary Le Cirque Restaurateur Sirio Maccioni Has Died

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The iconic host and restaurateur was known for his charms and for mentoring a generation of fine dining chefs

Sirio Maccioni attends the 21st Annual Living Landmarks Ceremony at The Plaza Hotel on November 6, 2014 in New York City
Famed restaurateur Sirio Maccioni
Photo by Taylor Hill/Getty Images

Larger-than-life restaurateur Sirio Maccioni — the man behind seminal French fine dining restaurant Le Cirque, and one of New York’s grandest maitre d’s — has died. He was 88.

Eater has reached out to his son Mauro for more details, though early reports say it was not due to COVID-19.

Maccioni immigrated to New York from Italy and worked at restaurants before opening Le Cirque in 1974. The restaurant became known as one of the city’s top fine dining restaurants, and some of New York’s most acclaimed chefs spent time in its kitchen, including Daniel Boulud, David Bouley, Geoffrey Zakarian, Jacques Torres, and Michael Lomonaco. In 2013, Esquire magazine wrote that “no restaurant in America, perhaps the world, has graduated so many renowned chefs as Le Cirque.”

But the food was almost secondary to the charisma of Maccioni, who built an empire and attracted the most powerful and famous people in New York to his dining room. Luminaries, politicians, and celebrities all made their way to the restaurant, from the Reagans and the Clintons to Sofia Loren and Alec Baldwin. The consummate host — whose restaurant didn’t always treat folks equally — eventually wrote a memoir and made many appearances on television and in film, including a documentary called Le Cirque: A Table in Heaven.

The original Le Cirque moved locations and eventually closed in late 2017. Over the years, it became less known for the food — and had problems like bankruptcy, as well as sexual harassment lawsuit and wage lawsuits — but it continued to be a destination for the well-heeled. Now, there’s no longer an outpost in New York, but Maccioni and his wife Egidiana and children Mario, Marco, and Mauro have since expanded the brand around the world. There have been locations in Las Vegas, New Delhi, and Dubai.

Stay tuned for more.

Le Cirque

151 East 58th Street, New York, NY 10022 Visit Website