Special Report

Top Old-School Italian Restaurants in America

Source: Photo by Rob A. via Yelp

> Location: Charleston, West Virginia

Danny Fazio’s grandparents owned the land where the restaurant stands today, and opened a small restaurant there in the mid-1940s. Danny’s father, Joe, took it over a few years later and expanded it gradually. Joe died in 2017 and his son is now in charge. The food ranges from Caesar salad to casserole-baked baked spaghetti, from assorted pizzas to Italian pepper steak, with some non-Italian outliers like jalapeño poppers and fried chicken.

Source: Photo by Adam M. via Yelp

Fior d’Italia
> Location: San Francisco, California

This historic San Francisco restaurant dates back to 1886, when it was opened in North Beach by an unsuccessful Gold Rush prospector from Italy named Angelo Del Monte. Another immigrant, Armido Marianetti, joined him in 1890 and the two built the place into a successful business that has occupied six or seven different locations over the years. In its current spot, it was bought by Milan-born Gianni Audieri and his wife in 2012. The menu offers both home-style and upscale fare, including pancetta-wrapped prawns, pasta e fagioli, tagliatelle alla bolognese, risotto alla milanese, and bistecca alla fiorentina.

Source: Photo by Kimberly S. via Yelp

> Location: New York City, New York

The Forlini family, in the restaurant business since 1943, opened this classic old-school place in 1956 in what was then Little Italy but has now become part of Chinatown. The menu is huge and full of all the usual Italian-American dishes, including numerous homemade pastas. The best deal, though, is the $52 “Gourmet Dinner,” including a hot antipasto assortment, an assortment of three pastas, a combination plate of stuffed shrimp, veal scaloppine, and chicken marsala with fried zucchini, and a choice of desserts.

Source: Photo by Ronny M. via Yelp

Frank’s Spaghetti House
> Location: Corpus Christi, Texas

Sicilian-born Frank Toeross (original name: Torregrossa) opened this place with his wife in 1948 after he was discharged from the Navy. The couple retired and sold out in 1973, and the new owner in turn sold it eight years later to Sue Finley Moody, whose family runs it to this day.

Spaghetti with a choice of sauces is of course featured, but there are also sandwiches (at lunchtime), pizzas, other pastas, fried calamari and other appetizers, and a few main dishes.

Source: Photo by Carl H. via Yelp

> Location: Denver, Colorado

“Eccellente Cucina & Cocktails” promises the sign outside this 1947-vintage Denver legend, opened by the Smaldone brothers — members of what was once the city’s most prominent Italian crime family. It remained family-owned until it was purchased in 2005 by the Wynkoop-Breckenridge group, owners of The Cherry Cricket, Wynkoop Brewing Company, and other local establishments. Steamed mussels, chopped salad, a couple of pizzas, stuffed shells, and prosciutto-wrapped chicken are among the dishes served.

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