The Heartbreaking Change In Ivana Trump That A Restaurateur Noticed Before Her Death

The public's memory of the late Ivana Trump is understandably tied to her ex-husband and former President Donald Trump and her reputation as a businesswoman. Ivana ran the Trump Castle Casino in Atlantic City in the 1980s (per the New York Post) and served as a vice president for the Trump Organization. The New York Times explains how after her divorce from Donald, Ivana had successful business ventures such as beauty products and clothing lines.

But she left an impression on many in the food service industry as well. For example, Page Six details how she would frequent a New York street food cart. That food habit actually caused a scandal for Ivana in 2018. Additionally, there was Ivana's appearance in an Arby's commercial and the Pizza Hut commercial with Donald Trump that she hated but nonetheless co-starred in.

Not long before her death, she dined at one of her favorite upscale locations. It was at that time that the owner of the establishment, a longtime acquaintance of Trump's, noticed that all was not well.

The heartbreaking account of a restauranteur

As People reports, Ivana Trump's New York City home wasn't far from the Italian restaurant Primola. She became a familiar face at the establishment. But when she stopped by in the weeks before her death, the restaurant's owner, Giuliano Zuliani, thought "she didn't seem to be in good shape." In fact, "she could barely walk," he said. 

This was echoed by fellow restaurateur Zach Erdem, who owns 75 Main in the Hamptons. Erdem told the New York Post that Trump "couldn't walk" and had told him "pain in her leg" made it difficult to even leave her home. He was so concerned that he pressed her to see a doctor, but Trump dismissed the suggestion. "She said, 'No, I hate going to doctors. I get more sick going to doctors,'" Erdem shared.

While Trump did make it to Primola and even managed to order some of her favorite menu items — veal scallopine and pasta with tomato sauce — Zuliani said that "she didn't eat her food" and instead brought her order home. He said she didn't show the boldness he had grown accustomed to, adding, "It was so sad to see her like that." But that didn't mean Trump believed she was at the end of her days.

One of Ivana Trump's last meals came from another of her favorite restaurants

Per CNN, Ivana Trump died on July 14 after an unnamed individual found her unconscious in her New York City apartment and called 911. While the New York City police have concluded that her death was accidental, the details of what occurred leading up to her death are still being pieced together. According to the New York Post, one of the last restaurants Trump visited before her death was Altesi Ristorante, an eatery near her Upper East Side home.

Altesi owner Paolo Alavian told the Post that Trump came to the restaurant while on a walk with a personal health aide the day before her death, but she didn't come in to dine. She instead ordered soup for delivery to her home. 

Alavian went on to share that the restaurant's soups were a favorite of Trump's. "She always had soup," he said. "She got lentil, carrot ... she always wants soup." 

Local restaurateurs remember Ivana Trump with fondness

Though it was apparent to the owners of the restaurants that Ivana Trump liked to frequent that her health was declining, it seemed she had no intention of slowing down or letting pain issues stop her from enjoying life and visiting her friends. Her best friend, Nikki Haskell, told Page Six that Trump had plans to leave for a trip to St. Tropez, France, a favorite seaside destination for the wealthy and famous. It was to be Trump's first trip since the start of the pandemic, but she died the day before her planned departure.  

Despite her physical difficulties, Trump was "still very nice and polite to everyone," recalled Primola Restaurant owner Giuliano Zuliani. When Trump visited Altesi Ristorante the day before she died, owner Paolo Alavian chatted with her outside. Though she seemed tired, he said, "She never complained about anything, never mentioned anything." Trump had even stopped by the restaurant a few weeks earlier on Alavian's birthday and had staff ask him to come outside so she could give him a birthday hug. 

Despite her infamous ex-husband Donald Trump and her own controversial statements in support of the former president's views on immigrants, it seems Trump will be remembered fondly by the restaurant owners in her New York City neighborhood.