Westport Mourns Frank DeMace

Frank “Tiger” DeMace — co-founder of Mario’s Place, the quintessential Westport steakhouse — died yesterday. He fought a difficult battle with brain cancer.

A posting on the Facebook group “Mario’s Place Was/Is The Best Place to Work and Eat!!!” announced his death. He is survived by his children Dominick and Lori. No further details were available.

Frank “Tiger” DeMace

While nearly every other Westport restaurant has come and gone — many times over — Mario’s was a model of consistency.  The menu seldom changed; the drinks and decor were always the same — and that comfortable atmosphere made it a Westport landmark.  For over 40 years Mario’s has been the go-to place for Westport commuters, families, and folks celebrating birthdays, anniversaries and promotions (or commiserating over job losses and divorces).

Frank’s business partner Mario Sacco died just over 3 years ago, in early July 2009.

8 responses to “Westport Mourns Frank DeMace

  1. Frank was the greatest! I cherish the memories of dish washing, bussing and waiting tables for the best boss anyone can ever have. RIP Frank, we are all going to miss you!

  2. Frank always was there for me as I worked for various charities, politics, any cause or my own campaigns. His friendship was shared with so many and so often. Tiger did not know the word “no.” My condolences go to his family and the whole town of Westport which he always had something to say about. We will miss this friend … RIP.

  3. Farewell, Tiger! Saugatuck won’t be the same without you. You leave a legacy.

    BTW, his battle with cancer was difficult, no doubt, but I don’t think it was terribly long. From what I understand, he was diagnosed in February or March. Still….long enough.

  4. Lou Gagliano

    A good friend and a loss to our Saugatuck and Westport Community. He also helped those that asked. He will be missed. It was hard for me today to walk inside of Mario’s and know that he has gone. I said a small pray for him, his family and those who helped him during the last days of his life in such a giving way. Their efforts to support him in he final days are a tribute to the friendship he built with them and the greater Community.

    Lou Gagliano

  5. What a great guy and a gentleman. He remembered everyone and always had a smile and kind word. He will be missed. Cheers, Frank !

  6. To the family of of Frank aka known as Meatballs ( when he was a youngster) and Tiger. Frank became an icon of Westsport and Saugatuck. Many remember him when he worked at NIstico’s as a young man and then were so happy for him when he became a co-owner of Mario’s. A Great, guy who will be missed by many .

    Sincere sympathy to the family from The Lou Santella Family

  7. Staples '87

    Frank gave me my first job, dishwashing at Mario’s. Even though I was a kid, always spoke to me like one of the guys. Always left an impression on me on how to treat everyone who works for you. He will be missed

  8. cheryl berlin coplin

    Frank DeMace was part of my life! From “Meatball” at the Arrow to “Tiger” when he grew up…he was always part of our family. Berlin Bros was there from Day 1 at Mario’s when my Dad took their first meat order on a match book cover…wow! times does fly when you’re having fun! Even though I no longer live in the northeast, Tiger has always been one of the first people I would call or visit when I returned home. It was difficult not visiting with him when I was there in June, and now I know there is a definite void in all of our lives…the DeMace Family I salute you and know that you will have wonderful memories to fall back on during this most difficult time.