He arrived in Manhattan in 1956 and worked as a waiter at Delmonico in the financial district, eventually managing his dining room before graduating from the colony. The restaurant, with the 21 Club and Le Pavillon, embodied gastronomy at the time, and Mr. Maccioni, in a few years, supervised the facade of the house.
When the colony closed, Mr. Maccioni opened La Forêt, a restaurant, lounge and nightclub, at the Pierre Hotel on Fifth Avenue. When the hotel was sold in 1972, William Zeckendorf Jr., a member of the Manhattan real estate dynasty and an avid gourmet, offered him space in the Mayfair, a residential hotel that the family had acquired.
Mr. Maccioni envisioned a bistro elevated to haute cuisine standards, with a relaxed Italian style more pleasant for newcomers of his own generation.
“I encouraged beautiful people, interesting people, people of different races and colors,” he told Mr. Elliot. “Above all, I loved people my age. It was the people who did things, made the world, changed the world. So many people, but they were all very interesting, very exciting people. “
A parade of talented chefs, including many strangers on the way, worked at the Cirque, including Alain Sailhac, Geoffrey Zakarian, David Bouley, Sottha Kuhn and Jacques Torres, who created one of the restaurant’s emblematic desserts, a chocolate stove .
More specifically, Daniel Boulud directed the kitchen from 1986 to 1992.