‘He was such a nice man’: Community mourns loss of Bayside restaurant owner

Michael Molinari, owner of Trattoria 35, passed away at the age of 50 on Nov. 16.

The Bayside community is remembering the late Michael Molinari for his warm generosity and kindness to others. 

Molinari, the owner of Trattoria 35 on 213-15 35th Ave., died unexpectedly on Nov. 16 at the age of 50. He was laid to rest on Nov. 20, following a ceremony at Our Lady at the Blessed Sacrament, located at 34-24 203 St. in Bayside. In lieu of flowers, Molinari’s family had asked for donations made in his name to Our Lady of the Blessed Sacrament Catholic Academy.

Molinari is survived by his wife, Donna Molinari and son, Michael Jr. 

Customers who dined at Trattoria 35 expressed their condolences to the family and restaurant staff. They recalled meeting Molinari at the restaurant, located at 213-15 35th Ave.

“He would always say hello upon arrival and then make sure he pops over to your table to ask how you are doing and if everything is okay,” Evan Cohen said. 

Melissa Cabrera-Brojan said he was a great owner and host at the restaurant. 

“He always made myself and my family feel so welcomed anytime we walked through the door,” Cabrera-Brojan said. “He would greet everyone with a smile and a big hug. May he RIP.” 

Thomas Costanzo said, “My wife and I went there a few times. We even had our engagement party upstairs. He was such a nice man and treated us like we went back for years. Sorry to see someone so genuine go away too soon.”

Jeremy Golub said, “He sure was the best guy! To everyone! Not one person I spoke to said something bad about him! Rest easy my man!”

Those sentiments were echoed during the service held at Our Lady at the Blessed Sacrament, as a monsignor said Molinari was a man that was generous to a fault. 

“Michael knew that god blessed him with time, talent and treasure. And he knew that those things were not to be hoarded for himself but to share with others, and indeed he did so,” the monsignor said. “He gave his time to his beloved staff at Trattoria, to every single person no matter who they were that walked into that restaurant.” 

Molinari was known to never turn down a request for a donation to the parish or schools, according to the monsignor. 

“He was generous to the community events and organizations, especially at St. Mary’s Children’s Hospital,” monsignor said. 

The Trattoria 35 family had issued a statement on social media on the sudden passing of Molinari, whom they referred as a “very dear friend.” 

Through everything we’ve been through this year, as a business, as a community, as a family — this hurts the most,” Trattoria 35 said in a statement on Facebook. “Michael was an outstanding member of the community, a father to Little Michael, and the leader of the Trattoria 35 Family. Please keep him and his family in your thoughts and prayers during this difficult time.” 

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