First published in the Feb. 19, 2022, print issue of the Burbank Leader.
Dominic Manente, a local Italian American figure who ran Tony’s Market deli for decades, died this week at the age of 75.
Manente died on Monday, Valentine’s Day. Burbank community members flooded Facebook pages to mourn a man they remembered for his friendly persona and sense of humor. Tony’s Market, a Glenoaks Boulevard fixture since roughly 1950, is now closed, according to Dominic’s brother Sabatino Manente.
“Hopefully, somebody will want to keep it a market,” Sabatino Manente, who owns the property, said in a phone interview this week.
Dominic Manente, who was a Burbank resident, is survived by his wife Rita and daughter Gina, his brother said.
Often known as “Dom” or “Tony” to his customers, Dominic Manente owned Tony’s Market since 1986, Sabatino Manente said. He was fond of collecting photos of the deli and its patrons, putting many of them on display at the business.
The deli was originally owned by Tony Paolone, according to his granddaughter Debbie Buzzelli-Blount, who gave the market its current name. When Manente — who knew Buzzelli-Blount’s family — eventually took over the business, he wanted to keep much of it the same, she explained, from the produce refrigerator to the recipes.
“It stayed old school,” Buzzelli-Blount said. “Totally old school.”
She said Manente had a great sense of humor, and that he felt like a distant relative. When she last saw him about five years ago, he asked her for more old photos of the market.
“If you knew him, you loved him,” Buzzelli-Blount said. “He was a really good guy. He really was.”