Volume 75, Number 39 | February 15 -21 2006


Arthur ‘Arturo’ Giunta, 79; ran brick-oven restaurant

Arthur Giunta, who ran Arturo’s, a Village restaurant, with his family for nearly 50 years, died Feb. 8 at Beth Israel Hospital at the age of 79.

Giunta, who was known to all as Arturo, was in frail health for the past couple of years and died of complications from a broken arm and dislocated shoulder suffered in an accident at home, according to his daughter, Lisa Giunta.

The restaurant, at 106 W. Houston St., at Thompson St., will continue, run by his daughter and his son, Scott Giunta.

He started the restaurant in June 1957 on MacDougal St. with his fiancée, Betty Keefe, Village born and bred like he was, and they married six months later.

Born to Salvatore Giunta, an immigrant from Cozena, Italy, and Elizabeth Di Ambrise, of the Village, he met his wife-to-be while he was working at Frank’s a pizza parlor on Bleecker St., according to his daughter.

“They met when my mom was on a date with another guy,” Lisa related. “He walked into the restaurant and my mom told her date, ‘I’m going to marry that guy.’ Her date asked who he was and my mom, said, ‘I don’t know but I’m going to marry him.’ She found out he worked at Frank’s, so she’d go there with her mother or a girlfriend. She was an opera singer at the Amato Opera and she gave him tickets to come and hear her,” said his daughter.

The couple decided to become business partners in a restaurant. “They borrowed $1,000 from her mother, $1,000 from an aunt and $1,000 from his sister,” Lisa said. “Back then, people did business on a handshake and he got restaurant equipment on trust from a dealer on the Bowery,” Lisa said.

“He could make anything. He used string-bean baskets for lampshades to cover bare light bulbs. Later when he had some money he bought real lampshades and people got upset,” she said.

“He would make things out of wood and paint them. He played drums and he was a wonderful cook. He could make a delicious meal with a moment’s notice with whatever he had on hand,” said Lisa.

In addition to his daughter and son, his wife, his daughter-in-law, Carol, and two grandchildren, Nico and Sofia, also survive. The funeral service was Feb. 13 at St. Anthony of Padua Church and burial was in Trinity Cemetery at 155th St. in Manhattan.

Perazzo Funeral Home, 199 Bleecker St., was in charge of arrangements.

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