Famed restaurateur and founder of Le Cirque has passed away at 88

(CNN) — Famed restaurateur and founder of Le Cirque, Sirio Maccioni, has passed away at the age of 88, according to his son.

Le Cirque was a hot spot for the likes of Ronald and Nancy Reagan and Frank Sinatra, according to Marco Maccioni.

Maccioni passed away in his hometown of Montecatini, Italy, on Monday morning in his sleep, his son added. He had been suffering from dementia for the last few years, according to his son.

After working as a “maître d’hotel” in New York City’s Colony Club, Maccioni opened Le Cirque in 1974, which was relocated a few times, until finding a home on Manhattan’s East Side in the Bloomberg Building in 2006.

Le Cirque’s lease ran out the end of 2018 and Maccioni’s sons are looking to reopen Le Cirque on Manhattan’s East Side once again in honor of their father when the coronavirus pandemic allows for it.

“He was so proud of his work and he loved New York,” Marco told CNN. “But no matter what, his greatest accomplishment wasn’t the restaurants, it was being a father and I’m so lucky to have been his son.”

Maccioni is survived by his three sons, Mario, Marco and Mauro as well as his wife, Egidiana and his five grandchildren.

Maccioni impacted many now-famous chefs

While Le Cirque and Sirio Maccioni were known to host many famous faces, they also helped launch the careers of many chefs, such as Daniel Boulud, David Bouley, Jacques Torres, and Geoffrey Zakarian.

In an Instagram post, Boulud — who served as a chef at Le Cirque from 1986 to 1992 — called Maccioni a “true legend.”

“I owe him all the respect and admiration for all that he did for me and my career as a chef. No one in the business was more elegant, savvy, and confident in running the dining room of #lecirque,” Boulud captioned a picture of Maccioni.

Geoffrey Zakarian, who served as a line cook at Le Cirque, posted a picture with Maccioni to his Instagram to remember the late restaurateur.

“Sirio Maccioni on the far left in the suit ran the most sophisticated and notable restaurant for over 30 years,” the caption reads. “Those that passed through his doors learned about food, hospitality and family directly from him, the one and only.”

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