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Longtime Houston Restaurateur Tony Vallone Has Died at 75

Vallone opened his iconic namesake restaurant, Tony’s, in Houston in 1965

The late Tony Vallone, pictured with his wife Donna
Amy McCarthy is a reporter at, focusing on pop culture, policy and labor, and only the weirdest online trends.

The Houston dining scene lost a towering figure this week with the passing of longtime restaurateur Tony Vallone.

A representative for the legendary restaurateur’s family tells Eater that Tony Vallone “passed of natural causes peacefully in his sleep” on September 9 at the age of 75. Vallone first opened his iconic restaurant Tony’s in 1965 on Sage Road, bringing authentic Italian cuisine to the city and serving countless celebrities, including former U.S. presidents, throughout his life. In 2020, the restaurant celebrated its 55th year in business.

Vallone also operated a number of restaurants throughout his career in Houston. Most recently, his popular steakhouse, called Vallone’s, operated from 2013 until it closed its doors in 2018.

The restaurant, now located in Greenway Plaza, will continue to operate with Vallone’s widow, Donna Vallone, at the helm. “I’ve lost the love of my life and my best friend, but I will continue Tony’s legacy,” Donna Vallone said in a statement. Executive chef Austin Waiter will also continue in his role, along with some staffers who have been with the restaurant fore more than 40 years.

Tony’s is set to reopen on September 15 after a brief closure. Details on plans for Vallone’s memorial service have not yet been announced.