“TONY’S NUT HOUSE
Tucked between a partly vacant Roman Catholic church and a Vietnamese herbal store, the Beard Cafe, on Elizabeth Street, near Broome, could be mistaken for another downtown bar, priced out of SoHo or the East Village. At night, young urbanites and European tourists mingle to enjoy techno music and imported beer. Leftist literature competes for attention with a video art installation.
But during the day, the place mellows to resemble a European coffee shop with fresh muffins and stale cigarettes. When four elderly Italian men arrive, they create a bit of old Little Italy: the private social club, in the midst of a now-fashionable neighborhood. The men go to the rear of the club and descend into a hideout in the basement, where they spend several hours.
”It is the last traditional social club,” said Lillian Tozzi, a founder of the Little Italy Neighbors Association, whose family has lived on Mulberry Street for over a century.
The members of the club declined to be interviewed, but visitors say the basement is sparsely furnished with little more than a television set, a refrigerator and fading photographs of neighborhood friends. Not much happens, they add, besides watching television, playing a friendly game of hearts and chatting. Fans of ”The Sopranos” would be disappointed.
”You go to hang out with the boys,” said Tony Tenneriello, 80, the bartender at Mare Chiaro, an oak-paneled bar on Mulberry Street that evokes the area’s bygone charm. ”The bars were different back then. You could play a game of cards for a bottle of wine.”
Tony Tenneriello & Family
At His ITALIAN BAR
aka “TONY’S NUT HOUSE”
SINATRA with TONY
I first started going to Tony’s somewhere around 1984. Being myself (Danny) I always love the offbeat kind of place, whether we’re talking about restaurants, stores, Barber Shops, or in this cas bars. Don’t want anything shiney and knew, and most likely quite contrived. Give me a cool old well worn place like McSorley’s Ale House on East 7th Street (Since 1854) John’s of 12th Street, a few blocks from McSorley’s, Pete’s Tavern (Gramercy Park), or the good old Italian Bar, Mare Chiare on Mulberry Street in New York’s so-called Little Italy. Well, Mare Chiare (aka Tony’s Nut House) no longer exist. Not as that cool old Italian Bar, run by the unflappable Tony Tennerielo himself. Tony was just “Too Cool.” And he wasn’t even trying to be, he was just being Tony.
His Bar was absolutely awesome. It was low key, and had a cool old ambiance. It’s original 1908 deccor was kept pretty much intact. Tony’s was usually pretty quiet and you could go in there and get a drink, sit down at the bar or a table, throw a few quarters in the Juke Box, and play some “Dino,” Tony Bennett, and of course songs by Mr. Frank Sinatra. Sit down and relax, listening to great Italian-American music as you sipped your drink and chit-chatted with your friends. I here the place used to be busier back in the day, when the Old Police Head Quarters was still open, prior to 1973 when it was shut down and moved to it new facilities near City Hall. Before that, Mare Chiaro had a bit of a livelier crowd filled with lots of Policemen and Detectives of NYPD before the closing of Police HQs on Broome and Layfayette Streets nearby. The time-span when I went from 1984 until Tony Tenneriello sold his family’s old Italian Bar in 2003. Yes, most of the times I went to Tony’s wan’t crowded, usually, less than 12 people in the place. Regulars like me, simply called it Tony’s.
Besides going there any old time, especially on Sunday afternoons to watch a Giant’s or Yankees game, my favorite thing to do was to get an awesome Italian Sub Sandwich (to Go) at Parsisi’s Sanwich Shop, bring it to Tony’s, get a glass of Wine, put on some Sinatra and eat our tasty Sandwiches .
Yes, I had a lot of great times at Tony’s, but the best of all, was being at Tony’s one time when it was Tony’s Birthday. His family brought a Birthday Cake, we all sang “Happy Birthday Dear Tony,” Tony blew out the candles and we all had a piecce of cake, as one of his friends sang a couple Opera Songs. “Now what’s better than that I ask you?” Getting to sing Happy Birthdday to Mr. Anthony Tenneriello and sharing the good times and Tony’s Birthday Cake with the man himself.
Daniel Bellino Zwicke
I have a few old pictures I took at Tony’s back in the day. One day I’ll dig them up and post them here, for you can never get enough of Tony, or his awesome old bar, Mare Chiaro, aka Tony’s Nut House.
The NEW YORK OBSERVER … March 4, 2003
TONY SELLS MARE CHIARO
“Arrivederci , Tony”
Already, the regulars are suspicious.
Mare Chiaro’s was a Little Italy watering hole with oak-paneled walls, sawdust on the floor and the Old World atmosphere of an Italian social club. In the 1990’s, both the Paris Review crowd and the dot-com Wunderkinds embraced the bar as their own, despite the bright overhead lights and lack of fruit-flavored martinis. More recently, Nolita hipsters have held court-all under the watchful eye of Tony Tenneriello, who sold the bar last month. Until then, Mr. Tenneriello, 81, could be seen there every night, cigar in his mouth, working past 1 a.m., shuffling from table to table to clear glasses and staring defiantly at anyone who lingered too long or got too rowdy. Locals just called the place “Tony’s.”
Mr. Tenneriello said he sold the bar because of his age and the long hours the job required. “It looked like I was going to die in that bar,” he said. “But I sold it.”
The new owners haven’t decided yet whether to take down the black-and-white photographs of Tony posing with Frank Sinatra, Ronald Reagan, Madonna and others. “We have to retain the spirit of the bar,” said co-owner Eddy Welsh, 67, “but we also have to attract a new crowd. How much of a change do you make? Where do you draw the line?”
Indeed, Mr. Welsh and co-owner Richard Cestaro, 40, both local businessmen whose families grew up on Mulberry Street, have the unenviable task of “running Tony’s without Tony.” Their influence is already evident. In order to restore the exterior to what it looked like when the bar first opened in 1908, they’ve added copper outlay to the bar’s wooden doors and repainted the window frames, restoring them to their original white. Inside the bar, top-shelf liquor has been added, as has tap beer. The $3 Coronas now cost $5, and on the jukebox a buck buys two songs instead of three. The sawdust is gone. Soon the bar will serve lunch and late-night snacks: chicken wings, peel-your-own shrimp, eggs and peppers. Also under consideration is live Dixieland or country music. “Please God, NO !!!”
The bar had been in Mr. Tenneriello’s family since the turn of the century, when his father, Christopher Tenneriello, opened a small bar called C. Tenneriello’s at 1761¼2 Mulberry. Tony’s father worked the bar and Tony’s mother cooked Chicken Parmigiana and Spaghetti & Meatballs for a crowd of local Italians. After school, Tony would go to the bar and do his homework.
The police were the bar’s biggest crowd, coming in for lunch from their nearby headquarters on Centre Street. Members of the neighborhood’s crime families stayed away, according to Mr. Tenneriello.
“I’m not saying that no one ever came in,” he said. “But let me just say, thank God for the police.”
The police headquarters moved away in 1973, as did many of the neighborhood Italians, replaced by Chinese immigrants. By the late 80’s, the bulk of Mare Chiaro’s business were tourists who came to the city to visit the rash of new restaurants on Mulberry Street. Padding out the crowd was a mix of Artists and Writers . In the mid-1990’s, editors from the Paris Review met there every Friday night. The dot-commers would come by after long hours at their Broadway offices.
Nowadays, the crowd is thinner. A recent Thursday night found the bar sparsely populated with a mix of tourists, hipsters (White Stripes look-alikes) and stockbrokers. Sinatra’s “Summer Wind” played on the jukebox; an eager, short-haired female bartender was offering shots.
One of the stockbrokers, Mike, in his mid-30’s, had been coming to Mare Chiaro for the last six years.
“It was better when Tony ran the place,” he said, lowering his voice and looking around the bar. “The new owners want to get the yuppies in here. You can tell by the little things they’re doing-raising the prices of the drinks, the jukebox.”
Asked about this, Mr. Cestaro looked pained and said, “You can’t run a business selling $3 drinks.” He added that the bar’s prices are now on par with the other neighborhood bars.
If Mr. Cestaro and Mr. Welsh don’t have the full support of some of the regulars, they seem to have earned the respect of locally owned Italian businesses.
“To be honest, the bar needed an update,” shrugged one Mulberry Street restaurant owner. “The new owners are good guys. They realize they’re dealing with an institution; they’re not going to change it too much. Tony knew what he was doing when he sold it to them.”
Mr. Tenneriello said he has no interest in what the new owners may or may not change.
“What people want, and what people don’t want, it doesn’t matter,” he said, laughing hoarsely. “Things are going to change. It’s called progress, honey.”
AVAILABLE on AMAZON.com
READ About TONY
An His MULBERRY STREET
aka “TONY’S NUT HOUSE”
In La TAVOLA
The RAGU BOLOGNESE COOKBOOK
And The WORLDS BEST BOLOGNESE RECIPE Ever !!
Porto Rico Coffee Roasters , Since 1907
The name may sound Puerto Rican, but it’s not. Porto Rico Coffee is Italian, owned and operated by the Italian-American Longo family in Greenwich Village Since 1907
In Greenwich Village Since 1906
Fresh Homemade RAVIOLIS
#FETTUCCINE #LASAGNA #MANICOTTI
#CAVATELLI #PASTA and ?
To have a great little pasta shop like Raffetto’s is a true Blessing. For years this part of Greenwich Village was a hardcore Italian neighborhoood filled with Italian Immigrants mostly fromthe Southern Italian Regions of Naples (Napolitan), Sicily (Sicilian), and Calabrese, with some Genoese (Genoa) sprikled in as well, as were the Raffetto family who opened their passta shop on Houston Street in the South Greenwich Village neighborhood in 1906, and I’m for one of thousands who are so grateful they did. I’m able to go around the block and get my box of 48 homemade Meat Or Cheeese Ravioli and grated Peccorino or Parmigiano to sprinkle over the Ravioli.
You get a box of Raffetto Raviolis and leave them in your freezer. Whenever you’re going to have lunch or dinner, all you have to do is put on a pot of boiling water, throw your Ravioli in, and a few minutes later they’re ready to eat. Drain the raviolis, lay on a plate, put on a pate of butter, a tiny bit of Olive Oil and sprinkle on some grated cheese and you’re all ready to go with a delicious plate of Italian Ravioli. “What’s better than that?” Ravioli from Raffetto Pasta are a God Send.
I love to dress them with Butter & Parmigiano as they dress ravioli in most places around Italy. Or do as the the Neapolitans and Caprese prefer, dressed in Sugo di Pomodoro (Tomato Sauce), and cheese.
On Macdougal Street in GREENWICH VILLAGE Since 1918
100 YEAR OLD NEW YORK ITALIAN
Owned and Operated by The MOSCONI FAMILY
Three Generations of MOSCONI’S in front of MONTE’S
PIETRO MOSCONO (Chef/Owner) with Son PETER (GM/Owner)
and PIETRO’S Grandsons : Pietro, Anthony, and Paulo
Like Rafettos Pasta and Porto Rico Italian Coffee Roasters, Monte’s Trattoria is a beloved 100 year old, Italian Food Business in Greenwich Village New York. And just like Rafettto’s, Caffe Reggio, and Porto Rico, Monte’s is a God-Send of a place that we can all go to with our friends and family, for a good Old School Italian meal, and enjoy life. We are quite fortunate that places like Rafetto and Monte’s are still here and haven’t been obliterated by high-rent and other variables which have taken a toll on wonderful Old School Italian places like Lanza’s and DeRobertis Italian Pastries, two 100 year old Italian food-spots (a restaurant & Pastry Shop) that so sadly recently closed. Places like Monte’s Trattoria and John’s of E. 12th Street are two “Living Museum Pieces” that Than God are both still open for us to enjoy and have those warm wonderful feeling of Old New York Italian Enclaves, you can still have a tasty Italian Dinner in restaurants that have been serving New Yorkers and people from literally All Around The World for 100 Years and more. “We Thank You All.”
Not 100 YEARS OLD
But JOHN’S PIZZERIA of BLEECKER STREET
Is Not Far Behind, serving some of America’s BEST PIZZA
Photo COPYRIGHT DANIEL BELLINO ZWICKE
Italian Bread Bakers
Artwork Copyright DanielBellinoZwicke .com
A Readers Comment o The old VESUVIO BAKERY
I used to live around the corner, on prince street in soho, back when the neighborhood’s italian immigrant roots were much more evident than they are now. there was none of the abercrombie crew emporio starbucks navy barn nonsense back then…. storefronts were owner-occupied a la michael anchin, or (real) art galleries and museums (guggenheim soho, anyone?) or art “stores” like keith haring’s pop shop, or independent interiors shops like ad hoc softwares and almost everything on lafayette and the forever-missed canal surplus down on, you guessed it, canal street. by the time i’d moved into the neighborhood, soho was well on it’s way to transforming from a once-african-then-irish-then-italian immigrant neighborhood into an artist neighborhood, and, though i didn’t realize it at the time, into the bourgouise enclave i’d flee just a few years later for artier (and more affordable) digs.
but, in the meantime, mr. dapolito welcomed us all.
Anothny Dapolito was wonderful and equally friendly to his old friends and “newcomers” like me, probably 40, 50 years his junior. from the first time i walked into vesuvio bakery until the last time i was there before his death (he’d been frail and sick and not always behind the counter in the last years,) he treated me like a part of the neighborhood and i felt, as an extension of that welcome, like a part of the family. a distant cousin, perhaps, but family, nonetheless.
it bore a stark contrast to my neighborhood baker near my just-previous apartment, which happened to be in paris, france… there, the baker (boulangeriere) pretended not to even know who i was for the first year i lived there, despite my arrival roughly four days per week for a fresh baguette and croissants on almost the weekend.
when mr. dapolito died, the doors stayed open, and when people would inquire where he was, the kind and stoic and slightly sad but honest and open reply, given no doubt by someone who loved him more than we did, was this,”he died last week… but thank you for asking about him.”
that “vesuvio bakery” storefront is an iconic new york image, and mr. dapolito was everything that was right with new york. i am glad i got to know him, beyond the iconic surface, if only a little bit. His bread wasn’t half bad, either.
ITALIAN AMERICA’S Favorite Recipes
Including Spaghetti Meatballs
BRACIOLE , ITALIAN SUNDAY SAUCE GRAVY
and Much More …
Sadly closed in 2016
Dining at LANZA’S
MANGIA BENE !
LANZA’S Since 1904
The same year my Grandparents Giuseppina & Fillipo Bellino came to New York
from LERCAR FRIDDI SICILY ….
1010 YEAR OLD MURALS of VENICE
NAPLES , PISA , ROME
Painting of Founder MICHAEL LANZA’S
Who Immigrated to New York’s Lower East Side Sicilian Community and opened his resataurant LANZA’S in 1904 ….
LANZA’S Sadly Closed in 2016 and is Now JOE and PAT’S PIZZERIA
SICILIAN AMERICAN RESTAURANT
1st Avenue, NEW YORK NY
Woody Allen famously used the restaurant to film a scene in his 1993 film, Manhattan Murder Mystery. Characters played by Diane Keaton and Allen himself had dinner at an “Italian mafia joint” in New Jersey, which was actually Lanza’s.
One regular was Carmine “Lilo” Galante, who also frequented neighboring Italian haunts, John’s Restaurant and DeRobertis Pastry Shop . Galante’s family, the Bonanno’s, as well as the Gambino family, loved Lanza’s. In fact, according to the NY Times, after Galante was assassinated in 1979, his funeral service was held at Lanza-Provenzano Funeral Home (owned by the same Lanza family) a few blocks down Second Avenue from Lanza’s, and the restaurant’s maitre d’ and co-owner at the time, Bobby Lanza, was also the mortician in charge of the service.
The Lanza name, however, is most notoriously associated with Joseph “Socks” Lanza, cousin to Lanza’s Restaurant owner Michael Lanza, labor rackateer, head of the Genovese crime family, and controller of the Fulton Fish Market during the 40’s and 50’s (from this alone, he received over $20 million in profits). Although Michael Lanza never reached the crime status of his cousin or was part of organized crime officially, he did a little wheeling and dealing himself. According to the NY Times, in 1976 he, along with two other men, was arrested for bribery, conspiracy, and gambling. The men had paid over $18,000 in bribes to police officers for matters involving illegal activity at the restaurant. No records indicate that the men served time. Although now under new ownership, stepping into Lanza’s and ordering some Chicken Parm still feels like stepping into a vintage piece of East Village history.
ROBERT DeNIRO in LANZA’S Shooting a scen for ANGEL HEART
DeNIRO as LUCIFER
at LANZA’S with EGG
MICKEY ROURKE with ROBERT DeNIRO at LANZA’S
LUCIFER’S EGG SCENE in the Motion Picture ANGEL HEART
Starring MICKEY ROURKE & LISA BONNETT
DeRobertis Pastry Shop
1st Avenue , New York NY
Inside DeROBERTIS PASTRY SHOP
We’ve already established that the mafia in the East Village liked their Cannolis and their veal scallopini. This next bit of history is is consistent with that pattern. Lanza’s Restaurant, located at 168 1st Avenue in a tenement built in 1871, was opened in 1904 by Sicilian-Italian transplant Michael Lanza. It is rumored that in Italy he had been chef to King Victor Emmanuel III. And this regal influence is definitely apparent in the kitschy interior of large painted murals of places like Mount Vesuvius and the stained glass windows. These elements, along with the tin ceiling, are all original or very close to it. Also original to this turn-of-the-century throwback: the customers. According to an interview done by Eater, 90% of the patrons are long time regulars.
Sadly closed in 2015 , after more than 100 Years serving Italians, normal citizens and Gangsters for so many years.
East 12th Street New York , NY
NOTE : JOHN’S is still in Business and Not Part of LOST ITALIAN NEW YORK
CHARLES “LUCKY” LUCIANO
Luciano grew up in the East Village (LES) of New York where he immigrated to with his parents at the age of 9 , from LERCARA FRIDDI SICILY, the same town the SINATRA FAMILY and Best Selling Italian-Cookbook Author DANIEL BELLINO “Z” hail from. And coincidentally Daniel Bellino worked as a Waiter / Bartender for 7 years when he was in his 20s …
Luciano frequented both JOHN’S and LANZA’S Italian Restaurants which have been around since the early 1900s. He also ate at Brunetta’s on 1st Avenue as well as the former La FOCACCERIA on the same block. La FOCACCERIA was a SICILIAN restaurant that sold Sicilian Specialties like (opened til 2010) the beloved sandwich of PALERMO called Pane Milza (Vastedda) along with Panelle, Arancini (Rice Balls) and Sfingione which is the true Sicilian Pizza …
RECIPES FROM MY SICILIAN NONNA
by Daniel Bellino “Z”
Above : NEW YORK TIMES HEADLINE of LUCIANO GENOVESE VALENTI SHOOTING
in Front of JOHN’S Italian Restaurant on East 12th Street
Well Dressed Gunmen:
Vito Genovese and Lucky Luciano
On August 11th 1922 Umberto Valenti was having a plate Chicken Parmigiana. Some time around noon, Valenti and six laughing companions emerged from their lunch at John’s on East 12th Street. Walking eastward when smiles turned into frowns. Suddenly, Valenti spooked and bolted towards Second Avenue as two slick, well-dressed gunmen whipped out revolvers and fired. Gangland legend holds that one of the shooters was none other than Charles “Lucky” Luciano, Masseria’s newest protégé was future Geovese Crime Family Boss Vito Genovese.
The Chain of Evenets Follows :
1.Umberto Valenti emerges from John’s of 12th Street. Lucky Luciano and another assassin open fire. 2. Valenti draws a revolver and is hit in the chest with a bullet. He staggers to a waiting taxicab and dies. 3. The gunmen shoot two innocent bystanders before disappearing into a tenement.
“It was the coolest thing I ever saw. People were shrieking and running in all directions, and this fellow calmly fired shot after shot. He did not move until he had emptied his weapon. With blood spurting from his clothing, Valenti tried to raise up his pistol but his wounds prevented him from doing so. He made for a waiting taxicab, collapsing on the Northwest corner of 12th Street.”
CHICKEN PARM at JOHN’S
Charles “Lucky” Luciano
Born SALVATORE LUCANIA 1897
Lercara Friddi , Sicilia
Parents imigrated to America in 1906 when Salvatore was just 9 Years Old
They settled in The LOWER EAST SIDE of MANHATTAN , NEW YORK NY
UMBERTO’S CLAM HOUSE
Mulberry Street LITTLE ITALY NEW YORK
MOB BOSS “CRAZY JOE GALLO” was Whacked at UMBERTO’S on April 8 , 1972
Gallo had arrived at Umberto’s shortly after 5 a.m. and, according to witnesses, was loud and happy. The party ordered house specialties such as scungilli, calamari and mussels. Wine was brought to the table.
Besides the Gallo party, there were nine other customers in the restaurant, which opened three weeks ago. The gunman entered through a side door and went directly to behind Gallo’s table.
The man, described as about 5-foot-8, stocky, about 40 years old and with receding dark hair, fired twice, striking Gallo in the left shoulder and, as the hood fell over, in the left buttock. Diapioulas drove for cover but was also hit in the buttock.
The killer calmly turned and walked out into Mulberry St. to a waiting car. Diapioulas apparently fired three times at the gunman. Other Gallo hoods ran to the street and began blasting at the car as it sped away.
“GET THE VEAL, it’s the Best in the CITY”
AL PACINO , Sterling Hayden , and AL LITTERI
at LOUIE’S RESTAURANT in The BRONX
The Restaurant used as LOUIE’S RESTAURANT in The GODFATHER
was The Old LUNA’S RESTAURANT on White Plains Road
Italian restaurants have been thriving for so long in New York City, it seems strange to imagine a time when there were none.
That was just before Enrico & Paglieri opened on West 11th Street off Sixth Avenue.
“Countless people’s first Italian table d’hote meal was had here at this proudly immaculate place which, going and growing since 1908, now takes the underparts of three brownstone houses,” states 1948 restaurant guide Knife and Fork in New York.
Learn How to Make SALSA SEGRETO
The RECIPE is in SEGRETO ITALIANO
WHEN ITALIAN-AMERICANS COOK
MICHAEL GOES CHRISTMAS SHOPPING in NEW YORK
AL PACINO as Michael Corleone in Francis Ford Coppola’s
Me in ROME
Hey Guys, “I’m Back!” Somehow I lost my password for my Dashboard that I run sever websites from, including Daniel-Bellino-Zwicke.com (this Site), Big-Lebowski-Cookbook.com , Greenwich-Village-Italian.com , Vinyl-n-Vines.com , and NY-Foodie.com.
None of the Sites were down. They were all up and running, it’s just that I couldn’t get to the dashboard of each to make Post, so consequently there have’t been any posts on any of these sites for 3 months. I started a couple of New Sites in order to make posts, as I wasn’t sure if I would ever be able to get back on the sites, so I have another Author Website for myself at Daniel-Bellino-Zwicke .