Special Report

Top Old-School Italian Restaurants in America

Source: Photo by Kevin M. via Yelp

Mamma Susanna’s Ristorante Italiano
> Location: Sacramento, California

Though dating only from 2004 and under the ownership of former employee Michelle Gully for just six years, Mamma Susanna’s has a genuine old-style feel, complete with red-and-white-checked tablecloths and a menu featuring such fare as steamed clams, stracciatella, lasagna bolognese, chicken or veal with gorgonzola cream sauce, and a choice of a dozen pizzas.

Source: Photo by Lawrence H. via Yelp

Manducatis
> Location: Queens, New York

A Queens favorite, Manducatis was opened on Christmas Day, 1977, by Vincenzo and Ida Cerbone. The “old country Italian food” they promise encompasses scungilli salad, capellini with shrimp and peas, homemade spaghetti with sun-dried tomatoes, veal chop with sage, and an array of Italian pastries.

Source: Photo by Albert F. via Yelp

Mario’s
> Location: The Bronx, New York

Mario’s traces its origins to a tiny pizzeria opened in 1919 by Socolastica Migliucci and her son Giuseppe, who came to America from Naples. It gradually grew into a proper restaurant, remaining in the family through the generations. Socolastica’s great-grandson, longtime proprietor Joseph Migliucci, died of COVID-19 in 2020; today, a fifth generation of the family, in the person of his daughter, Regina Migliucci-Delfino, is in charge. Fried calamari, Caesar salad, tortellini in brodo, homemade lasagna, chicken Scarpariello, and Livornese-style tripe are among the choices on the menu.

Source: Photo by Tim C. via Yelp

Matteo’s
> Location: Los Angeles, California

Frank Sinatra was an old pal of Matty “Matteo” Jordan, who established this place in West L.A. back in 1963, and he brought his famous friends to dinner. It’s been thriving ever since, thanks to such classics as baked littleneck clams oreganata, mussels in pesto sauce, vitello tonnato, linguine with seafood, cioppino, and veal parmigiana.

Source: Photo by Ronald H. via Yelp

Minard’s Spaghetti Inn
> Location: Clarksburg, West Virginia

Michael and Rose Minard began serving spaghetti in their home dining room in 1937. The following year, Michael’s brother Samuel and Samuel’s wife joined them and turned first the dining room, then the whole first floor of their house into a restaurant. Michael and Rose’s son Joe and in turn his son and daughter joined the business, and it remains family-owned. On the menu are the likes of provolone cheese sticks, meatball or steak hoagies, stuffed shells, eggplant parmigiana, and Delmonico steak.