You may not have known his name, but you certainly enjoy what will be his legacy. Ivano Toscani, owner and general manager of the Anchor Bar, died Tuesday after a prolonged illness. He was 68.
“Those of us who were fortunate enough to know and work with Ivano have lost a dear friend and colleague, whose spirit will forever be ingrained as part of Anchor Bar’s history,” said Mark Dempsey, Vice President of the Anchor Bar Franchise & Development Company. “Ivano’s leadership and guidance at the Anchor Bar cultivated a Buffalo staple into a world-famous food brand, sought by tourists and locals alike for the past several decades. We were blessed to have him as part of the Anchor Bar family and will dearly miss him.”
Toscani moved from his native Milan, Italy, to Western New York in 1973. He was originally introduced to Frank and Teressa Bellissimo, founders of the Anchor Bar, by a mutual friend.
"Frank and Ivano worked for many years together, and Frank taught Ivano every aspect of the restaurant business," said Dempsey. Following the death of the Bellissimos and their son Dominic, Toscani continued to grow the business into the binational franchise it is today.
The Anchor Bar is now the internationally recognized birthplace of wings, receiving numerous honors, including two gold medal James Beard Foundation awards. Dempsey said the company has 15 locations today, through franchising that began in 2009.
"The Anchor Bar Company, staff and franchisees will honor Ivano’s legacy by continuing the work he loved and cherished," Dempsey said.