YORKTOWN, N.Y. -- Anthony LaRocco, 59, a Yorktown Heights resident from the Sparkle Lake neighborhood, died Sunday, Sept. 20, nine years after he received a stem cell transplant that his doctors at that time called a "Hail Mary" play.
He was best-known in Atlanta for his Fratelli di Napoli restaurants in Buckhead and Roswell, Ga. He also opened restaurants in South Carolina and Florida and developed a reservation software platform for the industry.
Born in the Bronx, LaRocco spent his childhood in Yorktown Heights. He was a wrestler and lacrosse player at Kennedy Catholic High School, where his teacher encouraged him to study history at college. A graduate of the University of South Florida, LaRocco was active in campus life as president of Phi Delta Theta chapter, also playing lacrosse and participating in international rugby tournaments.
He learned to cook at Silver Moon restaurant in the Roma Building in Yorktown. He opened his first restaurant, Antonio’s in Hilton Head Island, S.C., in the early 1980s and opened Fratelli di Napoli on Bennett Street in Atlanta in 1995. It was an immediate success and garnered numerous “best of” awards and accolades.
He later opened LaRocco’s in Destin, Fla., and, after he survived his first bout with leukemia, he opened Vita, Italian for “life,” in Buckhead.
He organized numerous fundraisers like the Italian Open golf tournament benefiting Project Open Hand.
He is survived by his wife, Suzy, daughters, Alex and Sofia and son TJ, of Atlanta; his father, Anthony; sisters Jeanne, Barbara and Patricia La Rocco, Gail Ryder and Mary Dove, of New York; and several nieces and nephews and hundreds of cousins.
A celebration of life will be held at 5 p.m. Saturday at F&B Restaurant, 3630 Peachtree Road NE, Atlanta. A memorial Mass will be at 11:30 a.m. Saturday, Oct. 17, at St. Joseph’s Catholic Church, 95 Plum Brook Road, Somers, followed by a reception at PJ’s Restaurant in Baldwin Place.
Memorial contributions are welcome at www.gofundme.com/jp2ww4h4 .
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