• November 2013

A Guide to New York's Mob Restaurants

By Greg Morabito
Editor
Eater.com

Generally speaking, mobsters eat at very good restaurants. Here’s are five NYC places with ties to NYC’s five Mafia families.

1. Rao’s
455 E 114th St., New York, NY 10029
(212) 722-670

This exclusive East Harlem restaurant was host to a famous mob flare-up in December of 2003, when Luchese family bookeeper Louis Barone got into an argument with Albert Circelli, another customer with ties to the crime family. The tiff, which started when Circelli criticized the musical entertainment that night, ended in gunfire; Barone pleaded guilty to manslaughter and assault the following year. In the last year, there have been a few other strange happenings at Rao’s: in December a body was found in a trash can outside the restaurant, and earlier this year, the FBI removed a photo of a reputed criminal from the wall. Photo: Rao’s.

2. Umberto’s Clam House
129 Mulberry St., New York, NY 10013
(212) 431-7545

This Little Italy seafood restaurant has moved twice, but the original Mulberry Street location was home to a high-profile mob hit back in August of 1972. Flamboyant Colombo family racketeer Joseph “Crazy Joe” Gallo made a trip to Umberto’s in the wee hours of the morning after celebrating his 43rd birthday at the Copacabana. A rival gangster saw him going into the restaurant and sent in gunmen shortly after Gallo sat down. Crazy Joe took five shots, stumbled out into the street, and died. Photo: Ephemeral NY

3. Don Peppe
135-58 Lefferts Blvd., Queens, NY 11420
(718) 845-7587

Don Peppe is another one of the fine Italian restaurants that Anthony “Fat Tony” Rabito was told not to return to following his release from prison in 2009. The Queens-bred characters on the HBO series “Entourage” loved their baked clams. Photo: Village Voice

4. Marco Polo Ristorante
345 Court St., Brooklyn, NY 11231
(718) 852-5015

In 2008, Joseph Chirico, the owner of this Carroll Gardens classic, pleaded not guilty to extortion charges related to a Gambino crime family bust. He eventually got six months of home detention, thanks in part to a character reference from Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz. For a few years, Chirico also owned and operated the now defunct Gage and Tollner restaurant in Downtown Brooklyn.

5. John’s of 12th Street
302 E 12th St., New York, NY 10003
(212) 475-9531

John’s was a popular mobster hangout during the Prohibition Era. In August of 1922, Morello family member Rocco Umberto Valenti met with fellow mob kingpin Guisseppe Messeria for a “peace offering.” When Valenti arrived at the restaurant, he was chased down the street and shot to death by gangster Charles “Lucky” Luciano, the man who would become the father of the modern Genovese crime family.
Photo: John’s.

That’s not all! Click here for six more Mafia hotspots.


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Eater.com is the source for people who care about dining and drinking in the nation’s most important food cities. A favorite of industry pros and amateurs alike, Eater has an uncanny knack for finding out what’s opening where, who’s serving what, and how it’s all going down.

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