A lone table and two chairs were kept empty at the Valbella restaurant in Greenwich Monday to honor a famous regular: longtime TV host Regis Philbin, who died over the weekend at the age of 88.
We depend on your support. Donate to Connecticut Public today.
“I was heartbroken,” said Nick Zherka, Valbella’s general manager.
Zherka, who met Philbin at his establishment almost 20 years ago, says Philbin and his wife, Joy, dined at Valbella whenever they were staying at their Greenwich home. He said Philbin would usually start with seafood as an appetizer and then have a rack of lamb or a steak for his main course.
Philbin was last there on July 18.
Zherka recalled that Philbin often walked table to table greeting other diners. Zherka says he would sit with Joy while Philbin toured the restaurant making small talk and taking pictures.
“Every customer who came in Saturday was saddened by the news,” Zherka said. “They would tell us how sorry they were. In honor, we put a table outside with his picture to show he was loved.”