Tony Fortuna, restaurateur with a pleasant style, dies at 76 | ET REALITY


Fortuna later worked the doors and dining rooms of a succession of Manhattan restaurants, including Tavern on the Green, Lespinasse (at the St. Regis Hotel), and Mad. 61 and the renovated Monkey Bar. In 1995, he finally had his own restaurant, the Lenox Room, at Third Avenue and East 73rd Street, in collaboration with chef and restaurateur Charlie Palmer.

He took a personal interest in both customers and staff; It seemed natural. “To him, the people in the restaurant were not customers,” Palmer said. “They were friends and he couldn’t do enough for them.”

Five years later, Mr. Fortuna became the sole owner of the Lenox Room. Its name was changed to TBar, a steakhouse with a diverse menu, in 2007, after Arthur Backal of Backal Hospitality Group joined Mr. Fortuna as a partner. A TBar satellite opened in Southampton, New York, several years ago so that Fortuna, usually dressed in jeans, could greet and feed his regular customers in a summer atmosphere.

Angelo Tony Fortuna was born on October 22, 1947 in Sant’Elia Fiumerapido, Italy, located between Rome and Naples. His father, Giuseppe Fortuna, a merchant, and his mother, Concetta (Melaragni) Fortuna, a homemaker, immigrated with Tony and his two brothers to the Detroit area in 1955. Tony was the second oldest. Two sisters and a brother were later born in the United States.

In the early 1960s, after his father moved the family to Marly-le-Roi, a Paris suburb, where his brother ran a restaurant, Tony became a busboy, which ignited his career. He eventually became maître d’hôtel.

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