Russell Ciolli, owner of Grimaldi's Pizza, died Wednesday. He was 39.
Honored as Business Person of the Year in 2009, Mr. Ciolli was very active with the Garden City Chamber of Commerce, serving as a "dedicated director" of the board for the past four years.
"Ever willing to open his business to facilitate breakfast chamber meetings, he was instrumental in the development of the Friend of the Chamber Card, which will be part of his legacy, that will continue to help the vitality of our business community," said John Wilton, president of Garden City's Merchant Committee. "His untimely demise is tragic for his family and our community as a whole. God speed Russ."
Since its grand opening in Garden City, Grimaldi's has been dubbed the anchor restaurant on the northern end of Franklin Avenue and a favorite "haunt" amongst Adelphi students.
After Mr. Ciolli's father, Frank, acquired the famed Grimaldi's Pizzeria (located under the Brooklyn Bridge) from Patsy Grimaldi he headed west to Arizona to help his brother, Joseph, open one. When he returned to Long Island, Mr. Ciolli and his wife, Jennifer, further expanded the business, opening their own Grimaldi's right here in Garden City.
Mr. Ciolli leaves behind many family and friends, including wife Jennifer, daughter Ava Victoria and son Hunter Michael. Visitation is Saturday and Sunday, 2-5 and 7-9 p.m. at Park Funeral Home, 2175 Jericho Turnpike, New Hyde Park. A Mass will be held at St. Aidan's Church in Williston Park Monday at 10 a.m. Interment to follow at Locust Valley Cemetery. In lieu of flowers donations can be made to the Wounded Warrior Veterans of America or The American Heart Association.