Gary Zancanelli, Jr., founder of Leawood-based Red Door Woodfired Grill, dies at 56

Gary Zancanelli

Gary Zancanelli, Jr., owner of Red Door Woodfired Grill, died on the morning of Jan. 9 in Arizona, according to his family. Services will be held at 11 a.m. on Wednesday, Jan. 18 at the Church of the Nativity in Leawood. This will be followed by a 1 p.m. visitation at Red Door's Leawood location. Photo via Red Door Grill's Facebook page.

Gary Zancanelli, Jr., founder and owner of of Red Door Woodfired Grill, which began in Leawood and has grown several other locations around the metro, has died.

Zancanelli, fondly known as “Zanc” by friends and loved ones, died on Jan. 9 in Arizona, according to his family. He was 56 years old.

He opened the first Red Door Grill location in Leawood almost 10 years ago in 2013. Since then, four other locations in the metro have opened up in Lenexa, Overland Park, Liberty and Brookside.

“To know Zanc was to love Zanc and if you were lucky enough to come across this amazing soul you know that every interaction with him was one word… impactful,” the restaurant wrote on its Facebook page last week.

He was a “beloved father, husband, son, brother, friend, mentor & leader” the post went on to say.

Zancanelli’s cause of death has not been released.

Services will be held on Wednesday at 11 a.m. at the Church of the Nativity in Leawood, 3800 W. 119th Street.

The memorial mass will begin at the church, followed by a 1 p.m. visitation at the Red Door Grill’s Leawood location.

In order to observe and celebrate Zancanelli, the Leawood restaurant will remain closed Wednesday. However, the restaurant’s four other locations will remain open during regular business hours.

Red Door’s Facebook said “the memorial mass and subsequent visitation is open to all family and friends of the Zancanelli’s.”

Zancanelli was a native of the San Francisco Bay area. Before founding Red Door Grill, he led Zancanelli Management Corp., which owned and operated several chain restaurant franchises, including KFC and Five Guys Burgers and Fries.

He sold those franchises to launch Red Door.

According to his obituary, Zancanelli was “an athlete, loved golf, being outdoors, and above all he loved being with his friends and family.

“He nurtured growth and change in others, and reveled in their success because to him, that was his success too.”