HOUSTON, TX – Well-known restaurateur and revolutionary of the Italian culinary arts, Tony Vallone, has died from natural causes.
One of my favorite positions in a line of odd-jobs was working in the back of house of a contemporary diner. The love wasn’t simply because of the free food. I didn’t enjoy it because of the various meals to create. And I especially didn’t like the chef yelling when I still couldn’t make the potato squares properly, four months in.
No, what I learned to appreciate and remember always from working in the restaurant is the discipline. The discipline of working alongside professionals will help you grow into your own being. Especially when you put your heart into the cooking.
This was no different in the case of Tony Vallone.
If you asked anybody in Houston who Tony was, they’d tell you who he was what he cooked. An easygoing Neapolitan expert. Someone who worked hard to carry calamari. A steamy risotto master with rice no one else knew how to access. A real Italian and a true lover of food, from since childhood cooking with his grandmother.
His restaurant of the same name, Tony’s, was a staple of the growing Texas Italian cuisine scene. Tony’s had this to say.
“It is with heavy hearts we share the passing of Houston Restaurateur, Tony Vallone. Texas and the country have lost one of the great restaurateurs of our time.”
Tony’s came to be on Sage Road in 1965. Back then, Vallone busted his katuckis bussing all the tables and cooking in the kitchen alongside his team.
Throughout his lifetime, Tony witnessed his restaurant receive high praise and visits from A-list celebrities, but he loved every new guest.
Haunting as it is, Tony even said in a recent interview, “I intend to go out with a fish in one hand and pasta in the other.” This shows his dedication to the craft of crafting delicious food for all to enjoy.
Meanwhile, Vallone’s wife, Donna, will devote herself to continue his legacy. The two were together for thirty-six years.
A memorial service will take place later on. For the time being, the restaurant will close briefly to honor his legacy. They will reopen on September 15th.