'Little Italy' owner, Pioneer Square icon passes away

A Pioneer Square neighborhood legend is gone. Luigi De Nunzio has been a neighborhood fixture since the 1970's, best known as the restaurateur who helped create Little Italy

SEATTLE – Luigi De Nunzio died Monday at the age of 63.

The Pioneer Square restaurateur and icon had been a fixture in the neighborhood since the 1970s.

He suffered a heart attack December 30.

The community continued offering their condolences and appreciation to De Nunzio Tuesday.

“He was very much one of a kind. Yes, and he will be terribly missed,” said Joann Williams of Regazzi’s Flying Shuttle, a store next-door to De Nunzio’s latest restaurant, Luigi’s Italian Eatery. “I’m terribly, terribly sorry for his whole family. He fought very hard for this neighborhood. He really believed in this neighborhood.”

Mick McHugh, owner of FX McRory’s, met De Nunzio in 1977.

“He was always ‘the sunshine guy.’ That big smile. He was the light,” said McHugh. “He was working next door at Humberto’s. He loved oysters, he loved seafood. Sometimes in between his lunch and dinner shift he’d show up and he wouldn’t go for a half a dozen, not for a dozen, he’d go for two dozen in one sitting.”

In recent years, Luigi had to close his longtime restaurant Al Boccalino claiming negative impacts from the Bertha construction project.

The family said there will be a public memorial for the neighborhood to remember De Nunzio. It will take place Sunday, March 26 from 1-5 p.m. at Luigi’s Italian Eatery, 625 First Avenue, Seattle.

Copyright 2017 KING


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