Frank Criscuolo, who along with his wife Claire became a fixture in downtown New Haven as the founder of Claire’s Corner Copia, died suddenly at his home in East Haven on Wednesday. He was 62.

Frank and Claire Criscuolo operated Claire’s, a vegetarian restaurant famous for its cakes, together at its location at the corner of Chapel and College Streets since its opening in 1975. In 2004, they opened Basta Trattoria, a restaurant featuring Southern Italian cuisine, next door on Chapel Street. In addition to his work at both restaurants, Frank Criscuolo served on the board of the New Haven Public School Foundation and, along with his wife, wrote a column on vegetarian cooking in the New Haven Register.

“Frank has been part of the fabric of downtown New Haven for many decades and it’s hard to imagine New Haven without him,” wrote Anne Worcester, the head of Market New Haven, in a community email, the New Haven Independent reported.

Criscuolo is survived by his wife Claire, his brother Michael Criscuolo of North Haven, three nieces and a nephew. Iovanne Funeral Home, located in Wooster Square, will hold a service for Frank on Saturday.