Tony Giorgianni, 78, owner of Greasy Tony’s restaurants in Tempe and Tucson, died May 28 from a heart attack.
Greasy Tony’s Tempe location was open for nearly 30 years before Mr. Giorgianni sold it last year, and the Tucson location is still open at 828 E. Speedway Blvd.
The restaurants were known for their pizza and hoagies, but Giorgianni’s love of cheesecake prompted him to open his first Greasy Tony’s in 1978. He was passing through Tucson heading to Las Vegas when a craving for cheesecake caused him to stop at a local eatery. When the cheesecake wasn’t up to his standards, he decided to stay in Tucson and open a restaurant.
He opened his second location in 1980, in Tempe. He sold the Tempe location last year, but the Tucson location remains in the family. It has been temporarily closed since his death.
Mr. Giorgianni was born in Anita, Pa., and also lived in New Jersey, where he owned four Greasy Tony’s. He most recently lived in Scottsdale.
Family friend Lisa Garcia said Mr. Giorgianni loved to work in his restaurants and frequently did so seven days a week. He was outgoing and loved to tell stories to anyone who would listen, she said.
He is survived by his two children, John Giorgianni of Arizona and Sherry Giorgianni of New Jersey; five grandchildren, one brother and one sister.
Services were held Saturday at Meldrum Mortuary and Crematory in Mesa.