Caffe Dante Closed After 100 Years


CAFFE DANTE Has Offfically Closed  …. Sunday, March 22, 2015


Well, it’s Offical. Caffe Dante is closed .. It’s 11:55 PM Sunday March 22, 2015 … I just left Caffe Dante for the last time under the ownership of Mr. Mario Flotta .. I had to hold back a few tears saying goodbye to Mario and his two sons; Anthony & Mario Jr.  .. I kid you not. Caffe Dante was like a 2nd home to me .. This is not a cliche, but a fact … I ifrst started going to Caffe Dante in July of 1985, shortly after my first trip to Italy .. I went because my friend John who had been going to Dante for a few years, told me that Caffe Dante was New York’s most authentically Italian Caffe bar none, and that being so, they served a perfect Espresso, “The Best in Town.” That’s all I had to hear and I was there .. Going on that first trip to Italy hooked me on perfect Espresso, Gelato, and anything authentically Italian, and Caffe Dante was the real deal .. Now I was hooked on something else, Caffe Dante …  Ever since that day in the Summer of 85, I have had Espresso or Cappuccino at Caffe Dante almost every day fo my life since then. Everyday that I was in New York and not traveling somewhere around the World, which is about 340 days a year for 30 years. 

Yes, I went to Caffe everyday, and some days two or three times in a day, in the morning, later in the afternoon and then again at the end of the night .. Caffe Dant was a place where I could go have a coffe, relax, read, write, and meet friends, and there was always someone there that I always knew, there were the waitresses some of whome became good friends, and of course there was always Mario. Mario would come in every day around noon and stay til closing about 1 AM in the morning. It was always a joy having a little chat with Mario .. 

Caffe Dante just closed a little while ago. I almost cried, watching Mario take down the pictures of himself with many Celebrites who came to Caffe Dante over the years. People like; Al Pacino, Ann Bancrosft, Mel Brooks, Woody Harelson, Matt Dillon, Jerry Seinfeld, Alec Baldwin, Bob Dylan, John Tarturro, Stanley Tucci, Lilly Taylor, Michael Imperioli, Joe Panteleone, James, Gandolfini, Vinct Schiavelli,   Colin Farell, and on and on …

Mario Flotta who became a partner in Caffe Dante back in 1971 .. A few years after that his partner passed away and Mario became the sole owner. So, selling the place today that was 44 years that Mario was there, 56 years of Caffe Dante’s 100 year history. Caffe Dante will still be there. Mario sold the place to Victoria Coffee of Australia. He told me, it’s still going to be a caffe, and it’s still going to be called Caffe Dante .. Yes, Mario told me this, but I know that Caffe Dante without by buddy Mario is not the same .. Mario Flotta was Caffe Dante, and a Caffe Dante without Mario could never be the same, all the regulars know that …

to be continued …    Daniel Bellino Zwicke





Daniel Bellino-Zwicke & Mario Flotta Sr.



Raoul M., Daniel Bellino “Z”  RED, Mario Flotta, and Jonathon L.

at Caffe Dante

Macdougal Street, Greenwich Village, New York

SUNDAY March 22, 2015 … The Last Day of Dante

SUNDAY SAUCE  by Daniel Bellino "Z"

Danny Bolognese Recipe

Author Daniel Bellino “Z”
Making a Pot of His Famouse Bolognese
Author Daniel Bellino-Zwicke, a.k.a.  Danny Bolognese has some wonderful best selling cookbooks no under his belt. Daniel has authored such Best Seeling Titles as; La TAVOLA, Sunday Sauce, The Feast of The 7 Fish – Italian Christmas, SEGRETO ITALIANO aka Secret Italian Recipes and GOT ANY KAHLUA? aka The BIG LEBOWSKI COOKBOOK ..
Daniel said he was torn giving up his famous Secret Bolognese Recipe, but finally relented. He said it was time to let the cat out of the bag, and get it out there for the whole world to see, what some like The Journal of Italian Food Wine & Travel called the Best Bolognese in America .. It was at Daniel’s restauratn Bar Cichetti (1st Venetian Wine Bar in the U.S.) that Daniel first garned attention for his famed Bolognese and other of his tasty Italian Meat Ragus like; his
Duck Ragu, and Grandma’s Sunday Gravy … 
Daniel says everyone shoudl know how to make a great Ragu, or at least Sugo di Pomodoro (Tomato Sauce to you and me).
Yes Daniel was hesitant to give up his famed Bolognese recipe, but if you want it, it’s in two of his very popular Italian Cookbooks; SEGRETO ITALIANO – Secret Italian Recipes, or his first book La TAVOLA which is a collection of Stories of Italian-American Food Kitchen & Table, with 30 Bellino Family Recipes at the back of the book. If you’ve never read any of Daniel’s cookbooks, and you love Italian Food & Culture, we suggest you get your hands on one or two of his books. Daniel’s recipes are incrediable, and his story telling abilities are delightful.
Article by James Wilke
BOOKS by Daniel Bellino Zwicke
Secret Italian Recipes
Including Danny’s Bolognese
Italian-American New Yorkers Adventures 
of The Table
“And KITCHEN Too!”
by Daniel Bellino Zwicke


Recipes From My Sicilian Nonna
by Daniel Bellino
Just a Mock-Up
The Actual Cover Will Be Quite Different
After working on a book for some time, just seeing pages in a computer can be a bit much.
Just wanted to see a cover of the book, and made this one myself. My designer will produce something much more attractive, as he has proven in the past. Well, just wanted to have a bit of fun and something to look at untile the true cover comes together.
This my latest book Grandma Bellino’s Italian Cookbook – Recipes of My Sicilian Nonna is a collection of Sicilian & Sicilian-American Recipes. Most of the recipes are of my Nonna Josephina Salemi Bellino. Some of the recipes are from her offspring like my mother Lucia and her Brother Tony, along with recipes from my Aunts Fran and Helen and my sister Barbara.


Meatball Parm Mondays

Meatball Parm Mondays


When Italian Americans Cook

Segreto Italiano

Segreto Italiano


Caffe Dante to Close ???

Yes I’m afraid it’s most likely true, my beloved Caffe Dante to close this month (February 2015) after 100 years in business in New York’s Greenwich Village. It’s rumored that Mario Flotta the long time owner of Caffe Dante will be selling the caffe to a Australian Corporation and it was reported on 1010 WINS Radio News this morning that Dante will be shuttering its doors in 10 days time. This is very sad, especially for me and longtime regulars who have been going to Caffe Dante for 10, 20, 30, and even 40 years for New York’s most authentic Espresso and cups of Cappuccino. I myself have been going there since the Summer of 1985 when I came back from my first trip wonderful trip of many to my ancestral homeland of Italy .. As i’ve been going to Caffe Dante almost evry single day siance 85, I’ve become good friends with the Flotta Family over the years especially Mario Sr. who is almost like a second father to me.
This is such sad news, and all I can say is something I know that most do not, is that Mario bought a building around the corner on Bleecker Street for just such a situation. That being that the landlord would one day raise his rent beyond reason (the Landlord did in 2013), and Mario would just pack up his caffe and move it around the corner. Mario is Caffe Dante, his loves the place like one of his own children, and I know this is the reason he bought the building on Bleedker. Mario told me himself what he would do, and he always wanted the Caffe to continue and for there to be a place for Caffe Dante for his sons, Mario Jr., Anthony, and Peter.
I hope everything all works out, I love Caffe Dante more than I can ever express, it’s without question my second home, and a Greenwich Village without this wonderful Caffe would be that much less of the Greenwich Village that we residients, visitors and tourist from around the country and around the World know.
Story & Photos by Daniel Bellino-Zwicke



The NEGRONI by James Starace
                             ARTWORK by JAMES STARACE
The Negroni! A cocktail most Americans do not know. Too bad! With its contents of bitter Campari, Sweet Vermouth, and Gin, the Negroni is quite the unique cocktail. Best of all, it’s tasty and refreshing, with the essence of an Orange Peel, it’s invigorates and rejuvenates  The Negroni is wonderful any time of the year, however, it is especially pleasing on a hot Summers day somewhere on the Coast in Italy, The South of France, or anywhere on the Mediterranean, or the Hamptons or South Beach for that matter.
So, not many people know of the Negroni and its charms, other than the more Sophisticated among our population. Even just a minute percentage of those who have traveled to its birthplace in Italy will even know of the cocktail. In this country, it is drunk more often in the city of New York. A city with a higher “Sophisticate” ratio than most, but even still, just a few will know of this drink, the Negroni Cock-tail.
So what it is it? Well its base is the highly popular aperitif of bitter Campari, a Bitter-Sweet aperitif from Torino, Italy. The Negroni is made of 1 0z. Campari, 1 oz. Sweet Vermouth, 3/4 oz. Gin, over ice cubes in a Rocks Glass with a splash of Club Soda on top and garnished with a slice of Orange or Orange peel. Voila!
The Negroni is usually drunk as an aperitif before dinner in the early evening, but just wonderful any-time of the afternoon, especially Alfresco, or late in-
to the evening day. A Negroni is a particularly splendid drink for a leisurely Afternoon Cocktail or two. As a matter of fact, I just had a couple nice after-noon Negroni’s at Cipriani Downtown just the other day.
The base of the Negroni Cocktail is the well known Italian Bitter Aperitif Campari created in Novaro, Italy near Milano in the 1860 by Gaspare Campari. The secret recipe that has been carefully guarded for more than 150 years consists of and in-fusion of alcohol, Herbs, and vegetables, including, Orange Peel, Chinotto, and other secret ingredients.
The Negroni Cocktail was created in 1919 at the Caffe Casoni in Florence, Italy when the Count Neg-roni, a regular customer of the caffe, asked his wait-er for a Americano that had a little more of a kick to it. The Barman and waiter obliged the Count with a cocktail made with the normal Campari, and Sweet Vermouth of the Americano but with the addition of London Dry Gin. The Count Loved the Cocktail which was named after him and thus the Negroniwas born.

                                A NEGRONI and Its INGREDIENTS

  “Do You Remember Your First Time,” was the slogan of a wonderful Ad Campaign by Campari with pictures of good looking men or Gorgeous Women, and some sort of Campari Cocktail in hand, usually the most famous of Campari and Soda with a twist of Orange. The Ad was asking you if you remember the First Time you had your first Campari, but of course there was the Sexual connotation eluding to the first time you had Sex.
A ploy often used by marketers and ad agencies.
    I remember “My First.” It was of course on my first trip to Italy in 1985 sitting outside at a Caffe on The Piazza Popolo in Rome. I had seen the ads and people drinking them outside and when my waiter came over, I ordered one. It took a little getting used to at first, but I loved it and have ever since, and I’ve turned many people on to the drink ever since. On a whole, just a small percentage of Americans have ev-er even tasted Campari at all, whether it’s a Campariand Soda, Campari & OJ, or my beloved Negroni.
   So, if you’ve never had one, it’s time to get on the stick. We drink them like crazy at my buddy Pat Par-rotta’s house. Pat is an Italian Wine Lover, who throws great dinner parties, and he’s quite the dam good cook. We eat Pasta, Chicken, Steaks, Saus-ages, whatever, always with some nice Italian Wine.
Pat is a great host who knows how to throw a great dinner party. His dinners parties are always a huge success and we always start the day off with what has become a tradition at Pat and Gina’s home, a couple tasty Negroni’s or Campari Spritzers to get things rolling. I always look forward to having my Negroni when I get to Pat’s after riding the Ferry over from Manhattan.
As I’ve already stated, Pat is a wonderful Host who has great enthusiasm to cook for friends and family, serving some nice Italian Wine, along with
his celebrated Negroni’s which are better than just about any Bartender in New York. “For Real!”
   Making a good Negroni, brings to mind, that it’s not that easy. Not everyone can do it, as you need to get the proper balance of these very prominent ingredients of Campari, Gin, and Sweet Vermouth. I can, and Pat can, but many a bartender does not, no matter what they may think. I’ve been extolling the Wonders and Virtues of Campari and the Neg-roni for well over 20 years, while just a few Ameri-can’s on a whole have yet to discover it. Even as now some big cocktail association has named the Negroni, “The Cocktail of The Year” for 2011. People are just now catching up. I could have told you 20 years ago. In fact, “I did.”
     Anyway, back to Bartenders who don’t know how to make a proper Negroni. I was recently at a popular restaurant that has two bars inside where they make the new So-Called Artisanal Cocktails and House Specialty Drinks, made by “Mixologists.”
I ordered a Negroni. The Bartender made it and served it to me straight-up in a cocktail glass. I asked him to put it in a Rocks Glass with ice, whereby he gave me an almost disdainful look, as if he made a great drink the right way and who the Hell was I to have him alter it. “These Mixologist.” Well, first off, the drink was not great. It wasn’t even good. It was out of balance, and as I’ve said, in making a proper Negroni, it’s all about balance,
I know the balance, Pat knows the balance, that bartender did not. I’ve been drinking these things for more than 20 years, and I’m not going to have some bartender who’s just started making them a few months ago and who’s never been to Italy in his life tell me how it’s done. “Not gonna Happen!”
    So my friends, if you’ve yet to imbibe in one.
Don’t you think it’s high-time? Just make sure to get a bartender who knows the ropes. I sugest Cipriani Downtown. Even better, the families flagship restaurant, Harry’s Bar, Venice, in Rome or on the Amalfi Coast.
“The NEGRONI” excerpted from Daniel Bellino Zwicke’s  Book “LA TAVOLA”
In Paperback and kindle Edition
SUNDAY SAUCE  by Daniel Bellino "Z"
LEARN How to Make The Perfecr NEGRONI COCKTAIL  …. Pat Parotta’s Recipe in SUNDAY SAUCE  by Daniel Bellino “Z”

New Yorks Best Italian Restaurants

# 1
1.  Bar Pitti  … Greenwich Village
2.  Rao’s …  East Harlem, New York, NY
3. PATSY’S … 56th Street, New York, NY
4.  Manducati’s,  … Long Island CIty, Queens
5.  DeGrezia Restorante … Midtown Manhattan 
6.  Elio’s … Upper East Side Manhattan
Frank Pellegrino Sr.
RAO’S # 2
DeGrezia Restorante
A Hidden GEM In Mid-Town 
Ranks an Impressive # 4
Sunday & Monday Nights Only
Lasagna Bolognese
Long Island City, Queens New York
by Daniel Bellino-Zwicke
Learn How to Make Bolognese, Sunday Sauce, 
Meatballs, and more …