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PASSINGS / Ciro 'Mario' Marino

Los Angeles restaurateur

March 28, 2009|Times Staff Reports

Ciro "Mario" Marino, 76, who opened his first Los Angeles restaurant in 1957 and held court at Marino Ristorante near Paramount Studios for more than two decades, died of lung cancer Wednesday at his Los Angeles home, his family said.

For more than 50 years, Marino served unpretentious Neapolitan-style Italian cuisine at his Los Angeles restaurants.

Born Oct. 26, 1932, in Naples, Italy, he was the son of a merchant marine. He was one of 10 siblings; only four survived World War II. At 16, Marino also joined the merchant marine.

By 1952, he was working as a waiter in Los Angeles, and in 1957 opened an outdoor cafe, Via Veneto, on Sunset Plaza. Two of his successive restaurants -- Martoni's on Cahuenga Boulevard in Hollywood and Martoni Marquis on the Sunset Strip -- were said to be celebrity hangouts.

In 1976, Marino and his wife, Maria, moved back to Italy with their three children but returned to Hollywood to open Marino Ristorante on Melrose Avenue in 1983.

A son, Mario, will continue to run the restaurant. He co-owns La Bottega Marino trattorias in the Larchmont area and West Los Angeles with his brother, Salvatore, who also is the chef-owner of Il Grano in West Los Angeles.

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