Veteran Restaurateur Tony May, Who Championed Italian Fine Dining in NYC, Dies at 84

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Tony May, a veteran restaurateur who dedicated much of his career to changing the shape of Italian fine dining in NYC, has died. According to the New York Times, the cause of death was gall bladder cancer. He was 84.

An Italian native who moved to NYC in 1963, May (whose birth name was Antonio Magliulo) worked at city institutions including Delmonico’s, the 21 Club, and the Rainbow Room, where he became the owner-operator until 1987. Afterwards, he opened several of his own Italian fine dining spots, including the acclaimed San Domenico, which received a three-star review in the Times six weeks after it opened. Decades later, May closed the restaurant due to a steep rent increase and reimagined it as SD26, which ran for six years.

May was also involved in founding multiple educational programs for Italian cooking, including the Italian Culinary Foundation, which helps develop Italian culinary programs in schools across the U.S. He and his daughter, Marisa May Metalli, were working on a new restaurant in Midtown at the time of his death, according to the Times. The space is still slated to open next year.

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