Arthur Ave. staple Mario’s resiliently carries on after owner dies of COVID-19

When the iconic Mario’s Restaurant — a 101-year-old Arthur Avenue institution — reopened for outdoor dining at the end of June, it was a bittersweet return to the family business for Regina Migliucci-Delfino.

She lost her father, Joseph Migliucci, 81, the longtime face of the Bronx restaurant, to COVID-19 in April.

The night before the elder Migliucci died, he asked his daughter to promise that she would do everything she could to make sure that Mario’s would reopen.

“He said, ‘Now you’re the boss, and you need to run the show,’ ” Migliucci-Delfino, 58, told The Post.

That’s meant adjusting the classic menu to changing times.

The restaurant’s neighborhood, Belmont, has launched “Piazza di Belmont,” an al-fresco dining plan that closes Arthur Avenue (between East 188th Street and Crescent Avenue) to cars from Thursday to Saturday evenings.

And while outdoor dining has been a saving grace for New York restaurants, the summer heat has posed a challenge to red-sauce establishments like Mario’s.

“They’re not eating like they’re sitting in air conditioning,” Migliucci-Delfino said. “If you’re sitting outside and it’s 90 degrees and the humidity is 100 percent, how much heavy food can you eat?”


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