Legendary Le Cirque founder Sirio Maccioni dies

Sirio Maccioni, the legendary owner and maître ‘d of celebrity favourite, Le Cirque restaurant in New York, has died in his hometown in Italy aged 88.

Sirio Maccioni was a larger than life character who attracted the great and good to Le Cirque

According to Wine Spectator, charismatic showman Maccioni was suffering from Alzheimer’s and the effects of a stroke.

Maccioni was born in Montecatini in Tuscany in 1932. Following the deaths of his parents, he left Italy for France aged 17, where he worked in the kitchens of the prestigious Plaza-Athénée hotel and Maxim’s in Paris.

Sirio hard at work entertaining his guests at Le Cirque in 1981

Having clocked up valuable experience in Paris, Maccioni arrived in New York City in 1956, working at Delmonico’s and celebrity hotspot Colony, where he built up lifelong friendships with the likes of Frank Sinatra.

Maccioni opened French fine dining restaurant Le Cirque next to the Mayfair Hotel on East 65th Street in 1974. Almost overnight, it became the hottest ticket in town, luring the likes of Henry Kissinger, the Reagans and the Clintons.

In addition to a slew of celebrity diners, the restaurant also attracted the cream of the New York chef scene, including Daniel Boulud, Jacques Torres, Michael Lomonaco, and David Bouley, who all manned the stoves there.

Wine played a starring role at Le Cirque, which championed French, Italian and American drops. Maccioni had a passion for fine wine and sought out prized bottles from Europe for his list.

Since opening, Le Circle has closed and re-opened a number of times – in 1997 as Le Cirque 2000 at the Palace Hotel, and most recently in 2006 in the Bloomberg building on East 58th Street, which closed in 2017.

Outposts of Le Cirque also opened in Las Vegas and New Delhi, which were run by Maccioni’s three sons, Mauro, Mario and Marco, who plan on bringing the original Le Cirque back to New York soon. Maccioni is survived by his wife, Egidiana, their three sons and two grandchildren.

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