Russell Ciolli, Pizzeria Owner, Dies At 39

""NewsDay.com reports, “Russell Hunter Ciolli was as much a people guy as he was a pizza guy, known for the thin-crusted pies that came out of the coal oven at his restaurant, Grimaldi’s in Garden City.”

“‘He loved taking care of people,’ said Dean La Lima, a family spokesman. Ciolli, who lived in East Meadow and was the father of two young children, died Wednesday at 39 after a heart attack following a kickboxing class. According to La Lima, manager at Grimaldi’s, Ciolli graduated from Mineola High School in 1990 and the University of Rhode Island. He originally worked as a contractor, but pizza had become the family’s lifeblood. Ciolli’s father, Frank, bought the Grimaldi’s restaurant in Brooklyn from Patsy Grimaldi back in the 1980s. His brother, Joseph, opened a Grimaldi’s in Scottsdale, Ariz., a decade later. It was upon returning from Arizona, after building the oven for his brother, that Ciolli decided to open a Grimaldi’s restaurant close to his East Meadow home. Garden City seemed an ideal fit.”