The Big Apple Juice

Sirio Maccioni
Chef and Culinary Personality

He is Manhattan's most charismatic restaurateur...the brains, the energy, and the passion behind the legendary Le Cirque. Sirio Maccioni has dedicated his life to the restaurant business and few have achieved the love and respect around the world that Le Cirque's ringmaster has.

Born in the lovely Tuscan town of Montecatini Terme, Mr. Maccioni attended high school there before moving on to restaurant and hotel training programs in Paris and Hamburg. After a series of apprenticeships in Montecatini and Paris, he held a variety of positions at hotels and restaurants in Italy, France, and Germany, including the Grand Hotel & La Pace in Montecatini, the Plaza Athenee in Paris, and the Hotel Atlantic in Hamburg.

Eventually, Mr. Maccioni took his skills to sea with Home Lines before moving to the United States to continue his career. He quickly settled in and developed a loyal following at Oscar Delmonico. From there he made his way to the renowned Colony Restaurant, where, as maitre d', he became an institution among the movers and shakers of New York.

Encouraged by William Zeckendorf, then proprietor of the Mayfair Hotel, Mr. Maccioni realized a dream when he opened his own restaurant in March of 1974. Located in the Mayfair, Le Cirque was the first privately owned hotel restaurant in the city. It was there, with his wife Egidiana at his side, and his three sons in tow, that Maccioni presented to New York what quickly became its most favored restaurant, one frequented by politicians, entertainers, the social set, artists, and royalty. Neither Maccioni, nor the family, has had time to look back since.

In 1997, under the new name of Le Cirque 2000, the restaurant moved into the voluptuous surroundings of the New York Palace Hotel and the landmark Villard Houses. The site, already dazzling, was made even more so by the high-style neon circus elements and appointments added by designer Adam Tihany. And the restaurant's distinctive personality and reputation moved into its new home right along with it.

Clearly, a love of the restaurant world runs in the Maccioni family. Today, the three high-energy Maccioni sons, Mario, Marco, and Mauro, are also immersed in the business, and they always do the family proud.
Together they established Manhattan's well-known Osteria del Circo, and a Le Cirque and Circo in Las Vegas, housed at the Bellagio Hotel, which are already thriving. In spring 2003, the latest of the family's ventures, the beautiful Le Cirque 2000 in Mexico City, made its debut.

In May, 2004, Maccioni released his biography, co-written with Peter Elliot of Bloomberg Radio. Entitled Sirio: The Story of My Life and Le Cirque, excerpts were featured in May 2004’s Vanity Fair magazine as well as July 2004’s Town & Country magazine. The book has so far received rave reviews from the New York Times, Publisher’s Weekly, and Wall Street Journal.

Thanks to Maccioni's inspired and creative leadership, honors, such as the coveted James Beard "Restaurant of the Year” award, are continually bestowed on Maccioni and Le Cirque by a great variety of organizations and publications throughout the United States and the world. Maccioni was given the Impresario dell' Anno (Entrepreneur of the Year) award at Affreschi Toscani, a festival in Tuscany.

In addition, during the last several years, the restaurant and Sirio, Egidiana, Mario, Marco, and Mauro have been featured on A&E's "Behind Closed Doors." Le Cirque 2000 received the Wine Spectator's Grand Award. And the restaurant's chefs joined chefs from all over the world, each there at Maccioni's special request, to cook at The Pierre Hotel at a benefit for the American Liver Foundation, of which he was chairman.

Le Cirque 2000 was also invited to participate in the GrandHotelSalone design shown in Milan, where it provided a meal for the press and the design elite who attended. At Cirque du Vin, an event in Napa Valley, the restaurant combined with Trefethen Vineyards for a wine experience featuring Trefethen and Le Cirque and its chefs. Eighteen hundred people ate the restaurant's delicious fare.

Maccioni's son, Mario, was responsible for leading the chefs from Las Vegas to Los Angeles to join, at the invitation of Wolfgang Puck, in the America Wine & Food Festival, a benefit for the Los Angeles Chapter of Meals on Wheels. In addition, along with The James Beard Foundation, the Maccionis participated in and helped organize "Truly Tuscan," a Benefit and Grand Holiday Auction at the Essex House.

Furthermore, in a tribute to the contributions Maccioni has made to the city he adopted so long ago, the New York Landmarks Conservancy has designated the distinguished Maccioni one of its living landmarks, an award that puts him in the grand company of other living landmarks such as architect Philip Johnson, newsman Walter Cronkite, cabaret star Bobby Short, playwright John Guare, producer George C. Wolfe, and former governor Hugh Carey.

Each award is deeply significant to him, but perhaps most important of all is the one this devoted family man received from the National Father's Day Committee when he was designated Father of the Year for 2002, an award given not just for great fathering, but for setting standards that make the world a better place.

In May 2006, Maccioni launched the latest rebirth of his beloved Le Cirque in midtown’s Bloomberg Building, which received a three-star review from The New York Times in February 2008.

Designed by Adam Tihany along with architect Costas Kondylis, The 16,000 square foot restaurant features a main dining room, a separate bar area and private event room suspended above the bar. The 27 foot-high semi-circular main dining room with polished macassar ebony panels and a giant abstract “big top” light shade, which seats 100 people.

The all glass bar, which appears and disappears like a magic circus box, serves as a commanding architectural element anchoring the 65 seat café area and balances the custom designed 27 foot steel and glass wine tower. The wine tower visually connects the 80 person private dining mezzanine, known as the Stella Room after Sirio’s youngest grandchild, with the first floor. The restaurant walls, adorned with bent wire framed art pieces inspired by Alexander Calder’s magical circus installation capture the whimsical and playful spirit of the original Le Cirque.


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