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Frank Criscuolo, 62

posted: Dec 15, 2011 4:52 pm | Comments (11)

Frank Criscuolo, 62, who with his wife Claire has been a fixture of the downtown dining scene for more than three decades, died suddenly at his home Wednesday.

Along with Claire, Frank owned Claire’s Corner Copia and Basta Trattori on Chapel Street.

“Frank has been part of the fabric of downtown New Haven for many decades and it’s hard to imagine New Haven without him,” Market New Haven chief Anne Worcester wrote in a communal email Thursday.

Following is the official obituary:

Frank Criscuolo of Cosey Beach Avenue, East Haven, the beloved husband of Claire LaPia Criscuolo, owners of Claires Corner Copia and Basta Trattoria of New Haven, passed suddenly on Wednesday December 14, 2011. He is the son of the late Frank and Josephine Mazzaro Criscuolo. Besides his wife Claire, he is survived by his brother Michael Criscuolo of North Haven, 3 nieces and a nephew who lovingly refer to him as “UNC”. Frank was a devoted husband of 36 years and a successful Restaurant owner in New Haven. His heart was in the food he prepared and the friends and family he loved. He was loved by everyone he met and was a great listener and friend to all of us. Frank enjoyed his time at the beach both here and in Florida. He enjoyed his many vacations with family and friends. Frank also enjoyed boating, fishing, cars, motorcycles, photography and was an excellent guitar player. He served on the board of the New Haven Public School Foundation and along with his wife Claire, was an avid supporter of many charitable events in the New Haven area.

Relatives and friends may call Friday (TODAY) from 4-8pm at the IOVANNE FUNERAL HOME, INC. 11 Wooster Pl. and are asked to go directly to St. Michael’s Church Saturday morning at 9 for a Mass of Christian Burial. Burial will follow in All Saints Cemetery, North Haven. In lieu of flowers memorial contributions may be made to the Connecticut Food Bank PO Box 868 New Haven, CT 06513. or St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital 262 Danny Thomas Place Memphis, TN 38105 Sign Frank’s guest book online at 

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posted by: David hartman on December 15, 2011  4:40pm

Frank was certainly one of the kindest people I have had the pleasure to know. My condolences, Claire. He will be truly missed. I can only imagine that he can now enjoy Sunday pasta every day in heaven. Peace.

posted by: Leonard J. Honeyman on December 15, 2011  4:50pm

My wife and I are devastated to hear of Frank’s passing. He was one of the best—not only a gifted cook and restaurateur but a genuinely nice person. He always had a smile, a kind word and time to spend with everyone who came by.
You would never know to speak casually to Frank that he had been living with grinding pain due to back problems for many, many years.
I am sure Frank has earned his place in heaven.
Claire, we are so sorry for your loss. This had been a terrible year because of your loss due to the storm, and now this.
May God give you the strength to come through this.
We are not able to attend the wake or funeral because of the Sabbath, but please know our thoughts and prayers are with you.

posted by: Brian Rocc on December 15, 2011  4:57pm

I’ve only had the pleasure of meeting Frank a handful of times, but he was a genuinely nice person who always had a great attitude and kind word for everyone around him. Condolences to all friends and family, he’ll be missed.

posted by: Rob Smuts on December 15, 2011  5:39pm

Frank left this community a better place for his time here.  He will be dearly missed (by those lucky enough to know what is being missed, and by many, many others who will just feel an absence).  My condolences to Claire.

posted by: Michael Mauro on December 15, 2011  5:49pm

So sorry, Claire, for this immense loss. You’re in my thoughts and prayers.

posted by: Brian O'Neill on December 15, 2011  9:21pm

Like so many others, I have many fond memories of Frank in his days strictly at Claire’s. My now nearly 25 y.o. daughter and I ate many a delicious meal there from the time she was 6 months new and Frank was there for a kind word or a chat about this or that. Many owe a lot to Frank and Claire. They are good people. All the best to his wonderful wife, Claire, and to his entire family at this very sad, difficult moment.

posted by: Chip Croft on December 15, 2011  9:26pm

So shocked to hear this. Frank was such a kind, gentle, understanding man. Yes, he was a good listener then responded with great insight and wisdom. He cared about the city and worked diligently to help the downtown NH business district. My condolences to Claire and the family. Wish I could be there for the funeral.

posted by: Eric Triffin on December 15, 2011  10:00pm

People who feed people are special in my book.
You both made your mark in nourishing so many over so many years.
Frank’s presence will be missed, but not forgotten.

posted by: Bitsie Clark on December 16, 2011  8:42am

What a wonderful man and what an enormous loss for our whole community. My heart and prayers go out to you dearest Claire. Bitsie

posted by: Brian Wnek on December 16, 2011  10:04am

My thought and prayers go out to the entire Criscuolo family. Frank was a gentleman and a scholar (especially in the field of the culinary arts). I enjoyed many conversations with him over the years about current issues and past memories of the area. He will be deeply missed by all. The corner of Chapel and College will never be the same again.

posted by: Babz Rawls Ivy on December 16, 2011  11:30am

A Soul Brother for sure!

I enjoyed talking with him at Basta. He enjoyed talking with me about adopting kids. He liked my kids and he fed them well. Always getting them to try new things.

We haven’t been to Basta in a long while, and I think we are due for a heart-warming meal and to raise a glass of wine to his memory.

What a lovely lovely man.

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