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Joseph J. Vitale, owned Jovi’s Italian Grille

March 27, 1936 – May 17, 2016

Joseph J. Vitale of Williamsville, a restaurateur who also was barber for the Erie County Holding Center for 50 years, died Tuesday in Millard Fillmore Suburban Hospital, Amherst. He was 80.

Born in Buffalo, he was a graduate of Emerson High School. He served in the Army from 1955 to 1957 and was stationed in Europe.

Returning from service, Mr. Vitale became a barber. He operated Joe’s Barber Shop and a number of other shops in West Seneca, including one in the Seneca Mall. He got the contract to cut hair in the Erie County Holding Center in the mid 1960s and continued as barber there three mornings a week until last year.

He managed Bond’s Art Shop in Williamsville from 1972 to 1986, when he purchased the Brewery, a Kenmore tavern. After acquiring the building that housed the tavern a year later, he fulfilled a dream by transforming it into a restaurant, Jovi’s Italian Grille and Bistro. Opened in 1989, it now is managed by his son, Mark. Mr. Vitale was semi-retired, but maintained an active interest in the business.

Survivors include his wife of 59 years, the former Frances Grillo; two sons, Mark and Joseph Jr.; a daughter, Cheryl DellaNeve; a brother, Charles; a sister, Concetta Zaccagnino; and five grandchildren.

A Mass of Christian Burial will be offered at 10:30 a.m. Friday in St. Gregory the Great Catholic Church, 250 St. Gregory Court, Amherst.

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