Vincenzo "Vinny" Agostinelli, Longtime Anthony's Runway 84 Maitre D', 1945–2023 | Miami New Times


Vinny Agostinelli, "Irreplaceable" Maitre D' at Anthony's Runway 84, Dead at 77

"Everyone loved him, and he knew everyone and made everyone feel welcome."
Longtime Anthony's Runway 84 maître d' Vincenzo "Vinny" Agostinelli died on July 25, leaving behind a legacy of community and kindness.
Longtime Anthony's Runway 84 maître d' Vincenzo "Vinny" Agostinelli died on July 25, leaving behind a legacy of community and kindness. Anthony's Runway 84 photo
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He wasn't the creative director, the owner, or the chef. His name never appeared on the menu or above the door of the beloved establishment where he worked. But to many, Vincenzo "Vinny" Agostinelli embodied the heart and soul of the Fort Lauderdale restaurant where he worked for more than two decades.

A community of patrons, friends, and adopted family is mourning the loss of the longtime Anthony's Runway 84 maitre d', who is remembered for his kind and welcoming demeanor, a model of a profession that itself could be considered a dying breed.

Known to regulars as "Vinny," Agostinelli died on Tuesday, July 25. He was less than two months shy of his 78th birthday and still working regular shifts.

Agostinelli's role went beyond any normal job description. His cheerful greetings and low-key professionalism set the tone for an evening at Runway 84, from a first-time diner's arrival to a longtime customer's familiar hellos and goodbyes. He was known for making newcomers feel like they belonged and regulars feel like family.

"For 28 years, he was an incredible employee. He never missed a day of work, and he never forgot a name," the restaurant’s owner, Anthony Bruno, tells New Times. "He had that type of personality. Everyone loved him, and he knew everyone and made everyone feel welcome. That's hospitality at its finest."
Unbeknownst to many, the longtime Fort Lauderdale hospitality fixture was initially hired as a bartender, later ascending the position of maitre d' by virtue of his calm composure, an attribute Bruno says can be traced to Agostinelli's previous profession: funeral parlor director.

"He wasn't confrontational and had an incredibly kind manner about him. He was always under control," Bruno says. "That's not always easy when you're dealing with hungry patrons who have been waiting a long time."

Asked whether he has considered retiring the maitre d' position, Bruno concedes he'll have a hard time filling Agostinelli's shoes.

"It will be hard to replace him. A man like that is irreplaceable. He was such a big part of everyone's life. And how many restaurants do you go into now where you see a maitre d' — never mind staff that doesn't change frequently? Or where you don't use online platforms like Resy for seating reservations?"

Adds the restaurant owner, "It's going to be hard to find an adult male that can do that job. He was a friendly, safe, and consistent fixture who was always there and became a huge part of the restaurant."

Vincenzo Agostinelli was born in the Bronx, New York, on September 13, 1945. He is survived by his wife, SueAnn; daughter, Alison; grandson, Dante; brothers Michael, Gerard, Steven, and Joseph; and sister, Donna.

Viewing hours will be held at Monarch Funeral Home, 2950 N. State Rd. 7, Margate, from 1 to 9 p.m. on Tuesday, August 1. A celebration of life is scheduled for 11:30 a.m. on Wednesday, August 2.
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