Warren Bruno of Atkins Park Dies After Battle With Cancer

Share your memories of Bruno here.

Atlanta lost a beloved community man Wednesday morning.

owner Warren Bruno, 64, died after an eight-year battle with cancer. He is survived by his wife and four children.

Bruno founded what is now known as Virginia-Highland Summerfest in 1983, the same year he purchased Atkins Park Tavern on N. Highland Avenue. He later helped opened .

Overall, Bruno was involved in more than a dozen eating and drinking establishments in Atlanta, but his commitment to people and neighborhoods is what people will long remember him for.

“He will be missed, he will be loved and he fought the good fight,” said David Laws, who first began working for Bruno some thirty years ago at the former Buckhead estblishment, Aunt Charlie’s. “He helped launch the careers of a lot of people in the business. He improved a lot of lives.”

Much like he did for others, Bruno helped Laws own his first business as one of the proprietors of former Buckhead restaurant and bar, Mike N’ Angelo’s.

“His care for his own family was paramount, but in Warren’s way, he made everyone feel like family,’’ Laws said.

With an infectious grin, Bruno was a champion of the Virginia-Highland community. He ran for Atlanta city council, served on the various license boards and was a founding member of the Virginia Highlands Business Association. To say he was civic minded would be a gross understatement.

Simply put, Bruno was a pillar of the neighborhood known for his many years of public service.

Information about services is not yet available. Stick with Patch for information when it becomes available.

What’s your favorite memory of Warren Bruno? Share it in the comments.

Meinert May 17, 2012 at 11:25 AM
I was fortunate to know Warren and Sandra while I coached a rec soccer team, Alec of which was a player. I remember remarking more than once at Warren's perpetual positive attitude and smiling demeanor.
Hunt Archbold (Editor) May 17, 2012 at 11:32 AM
Thanks for the pictures, Brian. Would love to see some more of Warren. I'm trying to find a video I have, I think it's from 2000, of a Jager golf tournament that Warren and the boys from Atkins Park won.
Elizabeth May 17, 2012 at 12:37 PM
My favorite memory of Warren was when I had a blind date and he took me to Akins Park for dinner. My date reeked of Polo and told me he owned Akins Park. I went to the restroom where I could away from his smell (it was making me sick) and Warren stopped me and asked what was wrong. I told him and we planned a little joke on my date. He went up to the our table andwith asked how the meal was and engaged in a conversation. He never told him he was the owner and let my date tell lie after lie. Needless to say it was the best blind date I ever had without ever wanting to see the date again! RIP Warren, you were a true star among us.
Kim Eifrid May 17, 2012 at 12:42 PM
What a Great Guy ! Thanks Warren for the contagious smiles. Kim Eifrid, Boston, MA
Rebecca May 17, 2012 at 12:47 PM
Warren also put time in at Morningside Elementary School-always positive, great ideas. I asked him why he gave so much of his time and money and he said that to make a difference you have to do both and then watch it grow. What a legacy he leaves!
Abby Martin May 17, 2012 at 01:14 PM
Warren provided postive, inclusive leadership that builds a school community and culture in the best ways - with a focus on all teachers and staff, all parents and all kids. Warren saw the great possibilities in change. Most impressively, when many lamented the MES/SPARK split, Warren rallied the VaHi'ers at his "community town hall" (upstairs @ Atkins Park) and outlined how great SPARK would be. He was right - SPARK is great. With a different "Founding Father," it might have taken much longer to ignite the first spark in SPARK, but SPARK had Warren. The community has lost a great civic leader and his family has lost a committed, dedicated and loving father and husband (because that is the role I will most remember him in filling with a twinkle in his eyes and a smile on his face).
Lynn DeWitt May 17, 2012 at 02:30 PM
There are many memories of Warren from Aunt Charley's in Buckhead, his restaurant in Sandy Springs and Atkin's Park in Virginia Highland. He was a strong leader and a founder of the Virginia Highland Business Association in the 90's. Always ready with ideas for strengthening the neighborhood businesses; encouragement for new business owners; contributing his restaurant for meetings and events. He served as President for years and the Virginia Highland business community has lost a terrific, tireless leader.
Louis Valente May 17, 2012 at 02:32 PM
May God bless and keep you, my Cap'n - as I know you will continue to watch over Sandra and the kids. You are a good man! You reminded me to love life through your example. And you taught me to love the wind, as you do, by introducing me to sailing and ballooning. Through your generous spirit, your uncommon courage, and your infectious optimissim you had an impact on all of us. I love you and will miss you, my brother!
Dow Scoggins May 17, 2012 at 02:34 PM
Drinking jagermeister with Warren at 10am in the morning while watching the Buckhead mini Grand Prix in the early 90's.
John Wolfinger May 17, 2012 at 04:15 PM
Warren had that wonderful quality of making you feel you were the only person in the world that mattered when he was talking to you, and you had his complete undivided attention at the time. I have always admired him for that wonderful asset.
Jaclyn Hirsch (Editor) May 17, 2012 at 04:38 PM
A note from the Virginia-Highland Civic Association President: http://vahi.patch.com/articles/remembering-warren-bruno
John Sadlier May 17, 2012 at 06:42 PM
Sorry to hear about a great guy that personally I thought the world of. I was enjoying Atkins Park right smack after it open. Had a business next store to his and just poped in the back door several times a week. He fought the good fight and he did just what he love to all his life. My daughter worked there and his son and my grandson are the best of friends. My God hold you in the palm of his hand.
mark basehore May 17, 2012 at 08:48 PM
"We miss you already, Warren." - From your long-time and loyal baristas at Aurora Coffee!
Abby Goldsmith May 17, 2012 at 08:50 PM
Most people don't live as much in 100 years as Warren lived in 64. Thank you, Warren, for all you did to make our kid's schools and sports teams, our restaurant choices and our neighborhood better every day.
Mary R Stouffer May 17, 2012 at 08:53 PM
Warren left a mark on everyone who met him. His care for his community shined through, and I admire him for the time he carved out for MES, Inman and SPARK - heaven gained an angel too early, but he accomplished more than a multiple lifetimes while here with us:) God Bless you Warren and our heart goes out to your family and friends - Love the Stouffers
Diana Drake May 17, 2012 at 11:34 PM
My favorite memory of Warren is hearing him welcome visitors to his home from the porch. He would always call out to them in a loud, booming voice that rang with genuine delight to see them. He had such a knack for making you feel welcome and important. His eyes would twinkle and his infectious smile would cross his face and you felt at home. Thank you to Warren’s wonderful wife and children for sharing this special man with so many – we are all blessed to have crossed paths with him.
Jill Cooper May 18, 2012 at 04:35 AM
I worked for Warren at Aunt Charley's and at Atkin's Park when I was 21 (30 years ago). I have a million stories. He was a legend in Buckhead bringing amazing singer song writers in in the late 70s. When Billy's opened their T-SHIRT said The place to be seen, Ours said, The Place Not To Be Seen." He often made fun of me being so little, so he and Gruppo named me Wee-Bob. One day he put out a new menu and added chicken fingers - I saw that they were named Wee Fingers (after my nickname). One of my favorite memories was Thanksgiving Day. Warren opened up Aunt Charley's for all the folks not able to get home. We had all sorts of food and drinks - and we toasted to our families and to our great big Aunt Charley's family of Duggan, Flip, Gruppo, Carol, Leroy, Nate, Steve B, Woody and Chief, John, Susan, Joe (the cop), Julie, Guy, Tanner and Gal and everyone whose names escape me. Warren was loyal, generous, fair and driven. He made it possible for me to save the money that got me through college. I worked there for about 7 years altogether, and even worked at Knickerbockers for a spell. Years later (many) I went back to him ans asked for donations for our silent auction at my children's school, he also gave without thinking about it, every year......Thanks for everything, Warren, RIP.
Tom Lawton May 18, 2012 at 04:04 PM
I was impressed by Warren's courage when one Sunday afternoon he jumped in and pounded the driver of the getaway car after chasing a burglar from his Peachtree Hills home.
Randy "R3" Rosenthal May 18, 2012 at 05:03 PM
I feel so lucky, in many ways to have Warren as a friend, mentor and boss. Aunt Charley's began a long road of life, turmoil, friendship and education! From Knickerbockers to Atkins, he always made sure I was there for his amusement and camaraderie! Lucky-The many lives he touched and helped, the many friends i made and knew through and because of him. Lucky-helped make me what i am, allowed me to meet my love, went to my marriage, saw my children and pushed me to become a better man. Lucky-I spoke to him a few weeks ago, and told him I loved him and thanked him, for all he was, all he did for me and my life. Truly a great man, a great inspiration, and always a place in my heart and mind
Kennet M Breede Jr May 18, 2012 at 08:36 PM
Ken Breeden No matter how sick he was,he always was worried about me.I coached baseball against him and wtith him and had ball both ways.AS Peg Bumgardner said "He will always be remembered.".
Jay Prestera May 19, 2012 at 01:34 PM
I came to Atlanta in 1974 and met Warren shortly afterwards when he bought Aunt Charley's. Through him and with him, I met an eclectic cast of characters many of whom are still good dear friends. Warren will be missed, no doubt, and I will always cherish the memories. Thanks, Warren for the nearly 40 years of friendship, honesty, and just being there.
Flo Fillingim May 19, 2012 at 02:59 PM
I remember Warren and "Broccoli the Bartender" at Aunt Charlies. Broccoli was Warren's Rhodesian Ridgeback Hound. If Warren did not greet you at the bar, Broccoli always would. I have so many fond memories of Warren and "Aunt C's" as we called it. Duggan worked as the doorman while a student at Tech in those days. It is hard to imagine not ever seeing Warren again.
Max May 20, 2012 at 03:00 PM
I recall being at Mike 'n Angelo's when Warren walked in, the place lit up a bit. Understated, hard working, and of good heart Warren understood Atlanta and Atlantan's loyally supported his endeavors.
Jess Warner May 20, 2012 at 10:57 PM
My memory of Bruno involves a hot air balloon race in Nashville, Tennessee! I will forever remember is caring personality!
Sandi Pottinger May 21, 2012 at 05:23 PM
I am very sad and a bit nostalgic. Does anyone out there remember Bloody Mary's at dawn on the roof of Aunt Charley's on the 4th of July. The Piedmont Road Race in the early says? Or roller skating parties in the parking lot, with Leroy,s band playing? Good memories to last a lifetime. I miss you Warren. My thoughts of Peace and Love go to your family. Sandi Pottinger.
Hunt Archbold (Editor) May 21, 2012 at 06:02 PM
Warren Bruno’s memorial Mass is 2 p.m. Wednesday at the Catholic Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, located at 48 Martin Luther King Jr. Drive. In lieu of flowers, the family asks that donations be made to the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society Team in Training, Georgia Chapter, 3715 Northside Pkwy, Building 400, Northcreek, Suite 300, Atlanta, GA 30321 or to Team Bruno, Pan-Massachusetts Bicycle Challenge at http://www.pmc.org/profile/TB0218.
Jeri Hall May 22, 2012 at 02:04 AM
Met Warren through the Pietersen's and Aurora bike group and had the good fortune of getting to ride with him on 2 separate Beautiful Backroad races in Cartersville. His generosity was contagious, from the drinks after the Thursday rides or the donations to MES and Inman to the Friday night dinners to kick off Summerfest. He was a kind, funny man who will be dearly missed by any/all who knew him.
Nan Hunter May 23, 2012 at 02:11 AM
Warren was the friendliest guy-knew him from Aunt Charley's. He started Summerfest and had a hot air balloon tethered in what is now John Howell Park which was so much fun! What a loss.
Jim Piedmont June 20, 2012 at 08:23 PM
read a lot of great things about Warren' I can tell all he always an ice breaker when it came to people" I first met War in right around 1954: yes" we lived across the street from each other in Syracuse NY. knew the family well" we met at the Nedrow drive in" us kids back then would run up front to a play area during the intermission: in my face asking questions talking wanting to know my name, where I lived & so on; a little while after that we became best friends till 1963 when the family left Syracuse: I was sorry to see them go" I never stopped missing Warren & all: None ever like him nor his family sense: We only just exchanged a few words some months back saying hi" Claire told me of his illness: We did all kinds of things together as boys: He was the most out going person I ever knew: He had one of the coolest big brothers going back then: what a time it was to be a kid: at times they treated me more like one there own" I lost my mom in 55' they really filled some of that gap in my life" Good People all of them: There is so much to say" God Bless him & his own: Jim Piedmont:
george blackledge April 05, 2013 at 03:20 PM
George Blackledge 5 apr 2013 Great guy ---friend from serving as fellow security guard on missile site in Korea in 1972/73---He was always talking about Atlanta---Had a cap made that said "Atlanta Rocks"


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