Drinking Positano The Amalfi Coast









Drinking the Amalfi Coast, Capri, Positano, Napoli, what do you drink? Well there’s always wine. Yes wine, Campari, an Aperol Spritz, Prosecco, Mineral Water, Cappuccino, Espresso, and you must drink some Lemonade, for after all, you’re in The Land of Lemons of the Devine Coast of Amalfi. Or if you’re on Capri or Ischia, Sorrento or Salerno, or the Capital City of Napoli, it’s all the same. All the same of what you might drink, what the locals drink, business men, travelers, tourists, whoever.

    Yes, you will drink Cappuccino and Espresso, it’s good all over, and every Barista takes pride in his coffee making skills and prowess. And when it comes to Espresso, the Neapolitans are the World Champions of making it and drinking it. Espresso that is.

   And if on your trip to Positano, Capri, Sorrento, wherever your destination is down there, if you’re in Napoli, try and go to the Gran Caffe Gambrinus for one of the great cafe experiences of your life. The Gran Caffe Gambrinus is heir to the great Neapolitan coffee tradition, for coffee and the art of making and drinking a proper Espresso, is at its highest level in Gambrinus. Espresso in Napoli is rooted in ritual and the habits of each social class. There is a phenomenon in this habitual ritual that makes the simple moment of refreshment an opportunity for culture and socializing. You will experience a moment of great pleasure as you partake in this esteemed ritual known as espresso. But not just any Espresso, but a Neapolitan one. And while at Gambrinus, drinking your Cappuccino, Espresso or Special Gambrinus Caffe, why not treat yourself to a Sfogliatelle as well?

    All over the Amalfi Coast, in Naples, and especially popular on the Isle of Capri are Lemonade Stands. It stands to reason that with all the Lemon Groves you find on Capri, in and around Sorrento, and in Minori, Maiori, Atrani, and Amalfi, that they’d be serving that refreshing lemon based drink, Lemonade, yes they do. Though lemons are grown all over the coast and on the islands, there seems to be two places that you see Granita and Lemonade Stands more than in other parts, and those two places are in Napoli and on the Isle of Capri. And when it comes to me personally, I always remember that first Lemonade I ever had there, and that was the Lemonade Stand on the Piazzetta of the Piazza Umberto that’s right there before you, when you get off of the Funicular of Capri, if you happen to be taking it. And if you do take the Funicular from the bottom at Marina Grande, once up are at the top and your ride is over, the first thing you’ll see when you exit the Funicular is that Lemonade Stand that is so very inviting on a hot Summer day. So, just as I did on that day in the Summer of 1988 when I had my first, I got a glass of Lemonade. I got off of the Funicular, saw the Lemonade Stand and I couldn’t resist. I got myself a nice cold refreshing Lemonade made with the Lemons of Capri. Later on, in the trip (i988), I’d have my first Limoncello, that hugely famous after dinner drink made with the local Lemons. So, you see, it’s usually the littlest things that I love most when I travel. Like that lemonade on Capri in the Summer of 1988, my first Campari, Aperol Spritz, and most recently a lovely liquor made in these parts called Finnonchietto (Fennel Liqueur), that the waiter brought for me and my cousin Tony, after dinner at Z’Antonino one night in Sorrento. Wow, I went nuts when I tasted this wonderful liqueur for the first time. It was a revelation. I never had it before, and I absolutely loved it. So much so, that when we finished the dinner and took a little walk, as we passed by a Salumeria that sold Limoncello, Amari, and other liqueurs, including Finnonchietto, I just had to get a bottle, and so I did (8 Euros).

   So, now as we talk of drinking on the Amalfi Coast, we come up to the subject of the Aperitivo and Aperitivo time on the Amalfi Coast or anywhere in Italy for that matter. Well, what is Apertivo anyway you say? Aperitivo is a drink that you have before dinner, and is meant for socializing as well as getting your palate going for the meal to come. Most often when you go for Apertivo (aka Aperitif) and order a drink at the traditional aperitivo time (late-afternoon & early-evening), the waiter will bring you some little snacks along with your drink (Aperitivo). The snacks might be as simple as a bowl of Potato Chips and Olives. In addition, some places might serve canapes (crostini) with various toppings, all for the price of the drink. The most popular forms of Aperitivo drinks are anything made with Campari or Aperol, such as Campari & Soda or OJ, a Negroni, or Aperol Spritz. Prosecco or any wine at the apertivo hours are also considered as aperitivo drinks. You can get any other cocktails made with Vodka, Gin, Rum, Whiskey or other forms of alcohol other than Prosecco, wine, Campari, or Aperol, but these cocktails may be quite a bit more expensive than the traditional Aperitivi.

   On a recent trip to Rome and the Amalfi Coast, I partook in the delightful ritual of Apertivo on numerous occasions. It was quite wonderful sharing this ritual with my cousins Tony, Mimmo, Marta, and friends in Salerno, Sorrento, in Positano, and Vietro Sul Mare. My trip started off in Rome for a day before I hopped on the high-speed train to Napoli the next day. After landing in Rome, checking into my hotel, I took a shower and then a nap. Well, more thana nap, I fell asleep for 6 hours. I finally awoke and hopped in the shower again.

    Once I showered and got dressed for one more evening out to my beloved Roma, I had a plan. My plan was to walk over to the Metro stop and take a train to near the Piazza Spagna where I would go walk around and enjoy a bit of time at this one of Rome’s most popular spots. I walked up The Spanish Steps, taking pictures along the way and enjoying the scene before me; the people and that view from atop the Spanish Steps is absolutely magnificent. I stayed there to enjoy it for a little while. So, now on to the second phase of the plan.

   After spending a half-hour enjoying the Piazza di Spagna, my plan was to walk over to the Piazza di Popolo from there, a short 8 minute walk away. Yes, my plans included going to Piazza di Popolo to see the beautiful little twin churches of Santa Maria Maracoli and Santa Maria Montesanto and to have a Aperitivo at Rosati afterwards. After that, I’d go on to dinner. So after leaving the Spanish Steps behind I made my way along to the Via Babuino leading me to my destination of the Piazza di Popolo and all its offerings.

   When I arrived about 10 minutes later, I walked towards the Fountain of Neptune to get a good view of the Twin Churches. I took a few pictures of the churches, then asked a couple if they would take a picture of me in front of them. They took a couple nice pictures that are now part of my wonderful memories of that day, and even back to 1985 and 1986 in Rome. After taking pictures of the two churches and the Piazza and myself, I went over to the churches to go inside. The Chiesa Santa Maria Miracoli was closed, but the doors to Santa Maria Montesanto were open, and there was a Mass being conducted. I went in and sat down to relax there. I listened to the priest and parishioners as they responded to the priest. I said a few prayers for my sister Barbara, myself, my Brothers Jimmy and Michael, and their loved ones, and then I left the church.

   After my time at the churches I walked across to Rosati for my little aperitivo. I took a seat at a table outside to watch the World go by the Twin Churches and life on the Piazza Popolo. I ordered a Campari Soda and the waitress brought it to me along with Olives, Potato Chips, and Canapes. And yes, I sat back, sipped my Campari and watched the World go by. I had quite a nice little Aperitivo Time at Roasati and then it was on to dinner.

   Drinking? You can’t talk about drinking in Italy without talking about wine. On this recent trip I was briefly in Rome where I drank Frascati with dinner that night, followed by an Amaro of Capo di Stato digestive from Calabria.

     Now, down to Campania and the Amalfi Coast and the wines down there. This area has some wonderful wines that are sure to please all. There are a lot of very good white wines, as there should be with all the wonderful seafood available and simply for the fact of the heat and being on the coast in Summer, for many people, white wine is the way to go. The White Wines of the area are some of the finest in Italy, in wines like; Greco di Tufo, Fiano di Avellino, Coda, Falanghina, Biancolella, and a few others, with these being the main ones as well as being most popular. When it comes to reds, Aglianico is King, especially in the form of “Taurasi” the most prestigious red wine in all  of Southern Italy. The red grape Palumbo, also known as Piedirosso which makes up the local wine that is called Lacryma Christi, meaning “The Tears of Christ.” This grape makes wonderful fruity wines as is in the case of Lacryma Christi. Yes, Aglianico is the most renowned red grape varietal of the region, but the grape Piedirossa and the wines that it makes up are not far behind in stature. The more famous wines are made with Aglianico, the grape that makes up the famed Itaian wine known as Taurasi.

   There is a most lovely legend that goes along with the wine Lacryma Christi, which can be found as either white or red wine. As the legend goes, is that when Saint Lucifer (the Devil) was cast away, he took a piece of Heaven with him. When Christ first saw the Bay of Naples, he recognized it as the stolen piece of Heaven and he wept over its loss. It’s said that as Christ wept, where his tears landed on the slopes of Mount Vesuvius is where the grapes that make up Lacryma Christi first sprang up from, and these are the grapes that sprung from the Tears of Christ. So the legend goes, and it’s quite a lovely one at that.

   So you see, drinking in Napoli, Capri, and the Amalfi Coast, is a very pleasant pastime, whether drinking Cappuccino in the morning, Espresso later in the day, Lemonade or Limoncello, local wine, a Negroni, Campari, or Aperol Spritz, you’re going to have a good time. You have to? You’re in Aamlfi. Enjoy it.



by Daniel Bellino Zwicke  …. Due for Publication, May 2019

VISIT  Daniel-Bellino-Zwicke.com









Ronzoni Sono Buoni Pasta Its So Good New York Maccheroni Factory

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Rigatoni No. 27
“Ronzoni Sono Buoni,”if you are Italian and grew up in the New York area in the great decades of the 1960’s and or 70s you know the slogan. We Italians do love our
pasta, we’re weened on it! Pasta is the main staple of our diet. Many are fanatical about and love it so, they insist on having it several times a week.I’m one. Pasta, can be covered in a wide variety of sauces,  in some soups like; Pasta Fagioli (Pasta Fazool),in Minestrone’s, with Pasta and Peas, and Pasta con Ceci (Chick Peas). Yes, we are weened on it. Mommy gave me, my bothers and sister Pastina coated in a bit of butter and Parmigiano when we were just toddlers  and every soften I have to pick up a box of Ronzoni Pastina, as I love and crave it still,and of late as with many my age, you start craving things you loved as a child,thus my stints with Pastina. “Ronzoni Sono Buoni,” it means, Ronzoni is So Good, and that it is. This brand of Pasta, born in New York City at the turn of the 20th Century has been a mainstay of not only Italian-Americans of the East Coast but, for all.

For years before the surge of many a imported pasta product in the U.S., Ronzoni, was not the only game in town for Macaroni, there was the Prince and Creamette, as well, but Ronzoni dominated the market and though I don’t have stats, I would wage to say that 85 to 90 % of all commercial pasta sold in the New York, New Jersey, and Philadelphia areas was Ronzoni, the pasta in the bright blue boxes, Ronzoni Sono Buoni. God I wonder how many plates and bowls of Spaghetti, Ziti and other Ronzoni pastas I ate over the years, starting with Pastina as a toddler  and moving to Spaghetti with Tomato Sauce or Meatballs, Baked Ziti, Stuffed Shells and more. Oh “Stuffed Shells,” they bring back memories of my mother who loved them. We had them often, along with Lasagna made with Ronzoni Lasagana. You don’t see Stuffed Shells around that much anymore, they used to be on many a restaurant and even more home menus. There popularity has waned, but every once and a while I’ll pick up a box of Ronzoni large shells, just for the purpose of bringing back those memories of mommaking them and me loving them as  a child. I’ll make a batch of tomato sauce, cook the Ronzoni Shells, and stuff them with ricotta and Parmigiano, bake them in tomato sauce, and “Voila” Stuffed Shells of days gone by. I do the same with a Pastina as I still love the dish so, dressed with butter and fresh grated Parmigiano Reggiano, “makes me feel like a kid again!” Yum, delicious little pleasure you can whip up in minutes and bring back visions of your youth. All with some butter, Parmigiano and a box of Ronzoni Pastina. That’s Ronzoni, every bit a part of my life and youth as a spring ol Slinky, Etch-A-Sketch, The Three Stooges, Saturday Morning Cartoons, and all the favorites of my youth, Ronzon Sono Buoni, “Ronzoni it’s so good!”

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by Daniel Bellino Zwicke


And Other RECIPE



My Favorite Slice Sicilian Pizza New York Soho Square PRINCE STREET PIZZERIA




My New Favorite Slice of PIZZA in New York
It’s The Soho Square at PRINCE STREET PIZZA
Pepperoni Square Slice Prince Street Pizza … Well, of Course I still Love the Masterful Pizza by The Great DOM DeMARCO who I have felt makes thee # 1 Best PIZZA in all of NEW YORK ever since I had my first slice there in 2008, “I just Love IT.” But in all honesty, I have to say, since I can hardly ever make it all the way out to (once in 2 Yrs) Avenue J in BROOKLYN to DiFara Pizza, and then once I get there, have to wait on line for an hour and a half or more before I get some Pizza, it’s a bit too much for someone who lives in Manhattan and doesn’t have a car to ride around, so I don’t know if I can say it’s my favorite slice anymore. In fact, I know it’s not my favorite slice anymore, that honor goes to the awesomely delicious slice called the S”oh Square at Prince Street Pizza in the former spot of the really true first “Ray’s Pizza,” of Famous Ray’s Pizza fame when several Pizzerias around town claimed that they were the Original Ray’s, but were not. So, yes this spot has major New York Pizza History Chops, having the the real any truly 1st Ray’s Pizza opened here in 1959 by Ralph Cuomo, and now with the phenomenal success of Prince Street Pizza with it’s insanely popular slice, The Soho Square that has hundreds of people lining up on the perpetual line at Prince Street Pizza day and night 7 days a week, people just love it, and I’m one of them. Now, don’t get me wrong, I still love the Pizza at DiFara Pizza by the great Dom DeMarco, and I still feel he makes thee Best Pizza in all of New York, and thus the Best in America, it’s just not my favorite for reasons I’ve already explained, of which anyone I’m sure would agree that it’s just too far away for Manhattanites, and then there’s that long wait on top of it. “Sorry Dom.”
So now since I’ve discovered the Soho Square at PRINCE STREET PIZZA its “Mind Blowingly Awesome Taste,” yes it is without question my new favorite slice in all the city of New York.  It’s a perfect slice of SICILIAN PIZZA topped with Top quality Pepperoni from Salumeria Bielesse, and a whole lot of the stuff to boot. No they don’t skimped on the tasty Pepperoni at all. “Thank You Guys.” And the fact that I can walk there in about 15 minutes,as opposed to having to take a whole half a day to do a trip at DiFara, the Soho Square is my new favorite slice. 
Basta !







GREEN BOOK ‘S Italian Christmas

Yes, “I Fucking Love GREEN BOOK,” which was without question, the Best Movie I’ve seen in 10 Years, “Seriously.” “What’s not to Fucking Love” Tony Lip would probably say himself, if the movie wasn’t about him, but he was watching a movie with the same exact story about his life and adventure when he worked for World Renowned Pianist Doctor Donald Shirley (Mahershala Ali), driving him on a concert tour around the South and Mid-West of America in 1962 ..
The movie opens in a sccene at the Copacabana ight Club in New York City, where Tony Vallelongo (Viggo Mortensen), aka “Tony Lip” is the Maitre’d / Bouncer of the club.  Italian-American singer Bobby Rydell (Robert Ridarelli) of Philadelphia is the headliner and is singing on stage when the movie opens in the Copa. Viggo Mortenson ‘s character “Tony Lip” gets into a fight that night with a Mobster, and the Copacabana is subsequently closed down for a couple months for so-called renovations. Tony is out of work and needs to pay the Rent and put Bread on the table for his wife and two sons. By the way, Tony Vallelonga is what many would call a typical Italian-American Blue-Collar New Yorker who lives up in the Bronx, and his a thick New York Italian accent, swagger, and attitude to go with it. The guy needs a job. Soon after he’s put of work, a close friend tells Tony he knows how he can make a quick easy $50 .. Tony is put into a Hot Dog Eating Contest at the local diner. It’s between Tony and some other guy who can eat the most Hot Dogs. The record at this joint is 18 Hot Dogs. Tony takes the guy on, who ends up eating 24 Hot Dogs. Tony eats 26 and wins the Fifty Bucks, but Tony still needs a job, he can’t keep eating mass quantities of food like the 48 White Castle Cheeseburgers they he ate previously.
A good friend sets Tony up on a job interview to chauffeur a renowned piano player around for 2 months on his upcoming concert tour. Tony goes on the interview which is in the piano players apartment above Carnegie Hall. This scene is quite entertaining, and gives a good insight into what similar situations are about to unfold in the movie which is the stark contrast of two very different men, who have completely different lives, personalities, education, and general demeanor. Such a strong contrast between characters usually makes for good humor and entertainment, and the contrast between Tony Lip and Don Shirley is verging on epic. The situations and moments these two men have together is often funny, sometimes heartbreaking, and often quite sweet and heart warming. 
As Director Peter Farrelly said, in his acceptance speech for Best Picture, this movie is about love. Yes the movie is about love, and great friendships and acceptance between human beings who are different from one another. We all are, really. We’re different and the same, we’re human beings with attributes and faubles, and we go through life with many ups and downs along the way, but we should all be compassionate, helpful, and warm to our fellow human beings. Wouldn’t this all make for a better world? You know it would, and that’s just what these two humans, two “real life humans” (it’s a true Story) who are thrown together and though they are both hugely different, they come together and help each other, and become fast friends along the way. I got choked up and almost cried a couple of times during the film, and a walked away with warmth and good feelings, and maybe a little bit more of an understanding of life and other people, that I feel will make me a better person along the way.
Green Book? Yes, “I Fucking Love It!”
Go see it please.



Daniel Bellino Zwicke



 “It’s all about Viggo”

… Peter Farrelly in his acceptance speech at The OSCARS

Did you notice that there was a lot of food in Green Book. Viggo Mortenson (Tony Lip) eating Kentucky Fried Chicken, Hot Dogs, and Steak & Eggs at a Diner, and talking about eating White Castle Cheeseburgers. And for the Grand Finale as far as Food and Green Book goes, the last scene of the movie, may have gone un-noticed by many as the special Italian Christmas Eve Dinner of “The Feast of The Seven Fishes,” known as La Vigilia in the Italian language. Well, most who saw the movie may have not picked it up, but as I did, I’m sure many (but not all) Italian-Americans did.


If you’re interested in creating your own Italian Christmas of The Feast of 7 Fish? You can. Just get yourself a copy of Daniel Bellino-Zwicke ‘s “Feast of The 7 Fish.” 

Everything is in there, all the recipes to make your own “Vigilia,” 

The FEAST of The 7 FISH, on Amazon.com







Get The Book

Frank Anthony Vallelonga Sr. (July 30, 1930 – January 4, 2013), better known as Tony Lip, was an American actor and occasional author.
He is best known for his portrayal of crime boss Carmine Lupertazzi in the HBO series, The Sopranos. Lip portrayed real-life Bonanno crime family mobster Philip Giaccone in Donnie Brasco, and real-life Lucchese crime family mobster Francesco Manzo in Goodfellas. It was at the Copacabana nightclub where he first met Francis Ford Coppola and Louis DiGiamo, leading to a small role in The Godfather, his film debut. He also co-wrote the book Shut Up and Eat! (2005).
His time in the early 1960s, when he was the driver and bodyguard for the African-American classical pianist Don Shirley, was dramatized in the 2018 film, Green Book.


VINNY VELLA Dies at age 72


Vinny Vella
Vinny Vella hanging out with Frank Vincent
Federic Castelluccio and Butchy “TheHat”
120 Mulberry Street
Watch The VIDEO
FRANK pulls an Espresso at BELLA FERRARA
Italian Pastries / Caffe 


Michael Corleone says HELLO !

East 6th Street
Between Avenue A and Avenue B
East Village
This photo was taken on East 6th Street in 1971. I’m sure you’re thinking that it looks much older than that. But in reality this is a 1970s photo of East 6th Street all dolled up to look much older – for the filming of the Godfather II! Pretty cool, right? The Oscar-winning sequel used East 6th Street to depict Vito Corleone’s Italian neighborhood of 1917, where he first started his family and his life of crime. I even found a couple stills from the movie where you can clearly make out the buildings and storefronts on the block – here you can see the double arched windows of the S. Fiore storefront at the far left of our photo, and here you can see that beautiful painted glass storefront bearing the name “The Washington.”
East 6th Street
Godfather Part II




This is 100 years after the time our photo depicts, and 45 years after it was actually taken.  Thankfully we’ve managed to hold on to this entire strip of tenements, and many of their architectural details. The arched windows at 524 and the protruding glass storefront and centered wooden doorway of 520 (now a bar, rather than The Washington) all remain. At 522, the ground-level configuration is the same although in The Godfather image they appear to be two separate storefronts (one with an awning, one with Instituto Italiano at the frieze). This building’s upper floors seem to have lost their arched windows and lintels, too.
Between Avenue’s A & B
East Village
Robert DeNiro on East 6th Street
Meeting with The ROSATO BROTHERS
7B BAR  ( Vazac’s Horseshoe Bar )
Avenue B at East 7th Street
Francis Ford Coppola
After visiting Florida to seal the deal with Roth, Michael pays an unannounced visit to Pentangeli on Long Island and asks him to help take his revenge. As part of his plan, he insists that Pentangeli capitulate to the Rosato brothers so that Roth will not suspect that Michael is on to him. Pentangeli prefers open warfare against Roth and the Rosatos, but reluctantly obeys Michael’s order.
Pentangeli arranges a meeting with the Rosato brothers. Arriving at the meeting place, Pentangeli leaves his bodyguard outside and enters the bar alone. Once inside, Tony Rosato (Danny Aiello) ambushes Pentangeli with a garotte, telling him, “Michael Corleone says hello.” A policeman steps inside, and the attack degenerates into a shootout in the street. Pentangeli disappears and is believed to be dead.
“Michael Corleone says HELLO”
Is what Carmine Rosata (Danny Aiello) says to 
FRANKIE PENTANGELI (Micahel Gazzo) as he wraps Piano Wire
around his Neck inside the Vazac’s Horseshoe Bar
on AVENUE B at East 7th STREET NY NY
“Michael Corleone says HELLO” !!!
Danny Aiello and Michael Gazz
Which is known to it’s “REGULARS” as 7B BAR
For its Loction on East 7th Street and Avenue “B”
Learn How to Make SUNDAY SAUCE

Tony Talks Italian American Social Clubs



Mare Chiare


Mulberry Street

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














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.


Basta !




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.”

READ about TONY in Italian-American New York Writer Daniel Bellino-Zwicke ‘s book       La TAVOLA – ITALIAN-AMERICAN NEW YORKERS ADVENTURES of The TABLE La Tavola


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OBITUARY :  March 4, 2008 … Antonino Tony Tenneriello

Anthony James Tenneriello, of Old Forge died Sunday evening, surrounded by his family in Moses Taylor Hospital, Scranton. 

Born on Mulberry Street, New York City, he was the son of the late Anthony and Nancy Semenza Tenneriello. He lived in Old Forge his entire life. 

He was a graduate of Old Forge High School. Tony had been employed by the Delaware Lackawanna Railroad. He was also employed by Valley Auto Parts, Old Forge. He was a World War II Army veteran, having served from 1942 to 1946. He was a member of the 10th Mountain Division and trained as an ammunition bearer on skis. He served in the Pacific Theater as a member of the 51st Military Police Battalion on Okinawa and in Korea. Upon discharge, he received many medals and citations and a letter from President Truman. He was an avid Red Sox fan. He was a life member of St. Mary of the Assumption Church, Old Forge. 

Tony was devoted to his family. He was a selfless, kind, generous and thoughtful person. He was always ready to help anyone in need. He had a serious — but always joking — personality. He was wonderful with all of the young children in the family. He will be greatly missed by all who knew him. 

He is survived by a sister-in-law, Irene Tenneriello, Wilkes-Barre; two nieces, Joanne and Nancy Tenneriello, Wilkes-Barre; and many cousins who loved him dearly. 

He was preceded in death by a brother, Lawrence; and a sister, Divina Comessa. 

The funeral will be held Wednesday at 9 a.m. from the Louis V. Ciuccio Funeral Home, 145 Moosic Road, Old Forge, followed by a 9:30 a.m. Mass in St. Mary of the Assumption Church, West Grace and Lawrence streets, Old Forge. Interment will be in Cathedral Cemetery, Scranton. Friends may call 5:00 – 8:00 PM 

Giambone’s and John Gotti ‘s Favorite ITALIAN-AMERICAN FOOD


And Two Asscoiates Leaves GIAMBONE’S
After a Classic Italian-American Restaurant Meal
of Baked Clams, Pasta, Sausage & Veal & Peppers

ALTHOUGH legal arguments have long echoed down the austere halls of the Criminal Court building on Centre Street, many spirited lawyerly discussions also occurred a few blocks east, in a dim, shoebox-sized Italian restaurant named Giambone. Now, as workers at Centre Street and other nearby courthouses dig into their fall workload, they are discovering that this neighborhood fixture is gone.
Located on a narrow stretch of Mulberry Street two blocks south of Canal, Giambone, a virtual clubhouse for lawyers, judges, cops and defendants with a history as rich as its clam sauce, closed its doors in June. It was a victim of 9/11 and the sluggish economy, which all but eliminated the evening dinner crowd.
Originally housed in a marble-floored basement, which served it well during Prohibition, the restaurant was opened in 1914 by a strapping fellow named Italo Susi, who went by the nickname Giambone. In 1935, after the upstairs tenant, a Western Union office, left, Italo moved his eatery aboveground and, along with his son Tony, built the place into a bustling, neighborhood joint.
Within a stone’s throw of various courthouses, Giambone was a natural choice for people who worked at the courthouse or merely visited it from time to time, like the mobster John Gotti. Tony Susi, now 82, still remembers his introduction to the once-Teflon don.
”The goons came over and said, ‘Would you accept John Gotti?’ I said, ‘Of course.’ Then they said, ‘Would you wait on him personally?’ So I waited on him. We got along pretty well, too. I spoke to him in Italian.” Mr. Gotti ordered the calamari and left a $125 tip.

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Over the years, other celebrities passed through, including the comedian Pat Cooper, who wanted to kiss Mr. Susi upon tasting his Linguine alla Sinatra , a house specialty, and John F. Kennedy Jr., who nursed his wounds at Giambone after failing the bar exam for the second time.
But the true lure of Giambone remained its homey ambiance. The décor — rickety tables, taxidermied fish on the wall — was as unfashionable as your grandfather’s basement, and nearly as dusty. The menu was varied but never fancy. And Mr. Susi, by all accounts a gracious host, presided over a cast of regulars that included a fellow named Louie Beans, a struggling lounge singer named Detie Baxter, and Louis Martine, a big, garrulous prankster.
Asked about the many stunts he pulled at Giambone, Mr. Martine, a retired lawyer, fondly recalled the sweltering day he sent two colleagues on a goose chase in search of a Chinese tailor rumored to sell cheap suits. ”By the time the guys got back, they were walking swimming pools,” he said with a laugh. ”They were mad as hell.”
There is another reason to mourn Giambone. Except for a half-Italian, half-Chinese place next door, it was the last Italian restaurant on Mulberry Street below Canal.
Next month the space will reopen as a Chinese furniture store, furthering the Asian dominance of an area that, according to Mr. Susi, once housed seven Italian restaurants.
Mr. Susi retired in 1990, selling the restaurant to a man named Joseph Elias. Bob Jenny, a spokesman for New York City Management, the owner of the building, said that Mr. Elias informed the company last spring that he was closing the struggling business. Mr. Elias could not be reached for comment.
For its many former customers, the bottom line is that the restaurant will be missed. ”It’s left a hole in the neighborhood,”’ said Robert M. Morgenthau, the Manhattan district attorney and a longtime regular. ”Now, we go to Odeon or Forlini’s.”


Prosciuttoless in Nebraska




It’s a well known fact that thousands of Italian-American New Yorkers have been displaced over the years. Philadelphians, Bostonian Italians, and others too. Former Italian-American New Yorkers who have been in serious distress and mental anguish over the lack of good Italian restaurants and availability of quality Italian food products in the rest of the country, excluding of course cities like Boston, Philly, and San Francisco. Other than these, you’re going to have a very hard time trying to find a good Italian Restaurant, Pizza, and Italian food products.

It’s a “Sad Hard Fact-of-Life” that many cities and towns in the U.S. are completely “devoid” of good Italian Restaurants, Pork Stores, good Pizzerias, a properly pulled Espresso, or specialty shops where people of Italian origins, who are in need of good fresh Italian Sausages, Bread, Prosciutto,

Salami, Parmigiano Reggiano, olive oil, fresh Mozz-arella, Cannoli, and other products required to make proper Italian meals. These are simple necessities required to live a happy productive life, being able to purchase good quality Italian food products, or go out to eat at a true Italian Restaurant, or Pizzeria. 
    “Yes, believe it or not,” there are many places in this great nation of ours where the local citizenry are denied some of life’s greatest treats. It may be alright for the local natives who were born in these deprived areas, but as for Italian-Americans who move to one, for whatever reasons, the deprivation caused by the lack of good honest Italian Food is enough to cause un-necessary anguish, yearning, and outright sadness.
 Those of us who live in New York are extremely fortunate to have a plethora of the simple pleasures of outstanding Italian Restaurants, Pizzerias, Italian Pasrty Shops, Caffe’s, Pasta Shops, Pork Stores, Wine Shops, and Italian Specialty Shops that supply us with every Italian culinary treat under the Sun.
     Yes we are blessed with restaurants like Rao’s,  Gino’s, Patsy’s, Elio’s, Rocco’s,
Bar Pitti, Frankie’s Spuntino, and others that serve tasty authentically prepared Italian food, along with bakeries that bake magnificent bread, Biscotti, Cheesecake, Cannoli, 
and other pastries.

We have the best Pizzerias out-
side of Italy, like; Totonno’s, Lombardi’s, and John’s of Bleecker Street.
      In New York we have great Pork Stores that pre-pare wonderful fresh Italian Sausage, Braciole, Sopressetta, Cacatitorini, fresh Mozzarella, and more. There are countless Italian food emporiums where you can buy imported Olive Oils, vinegar, pasta, Prosciutto de Parma, Mortadella from Bologna, Gorgonzola, Fontina, Aceto Baslamico from Modena, Porcini Secco, and the sinful Tartuffo Bianco of Alba in Peidmonte (The Foot of the Mountain). The same place were the wondrous Barolo, Barbera, and Barbaresco wines come from.
When White Truffles are in season, from mid-October through early January, it
is favorite time of the year for gourmands, everywhere.
     We New Yorkers are blessed with amazing Italian Caffes, that serve authentic
pastries, Gelato, and prop -erly made Espresso and Cappuccino. We have Pork
Stores and Delis, that sell fresh Italian Pork Sausages, Imported Italian Cheese, Salami, Olive Oil, Pasta, Prosciutto, and more. And we have butchers who know how to cut a “Proper Veal Scallopine and make Braciole ready for cooking. We have restaurants and Trattorias that know how to make authentic Bolognese Sauce, Spaghetti Carbonara, and Linguine Vong-ole. Culinarily, we want for nothing!
 “My condolences to those Americans deprived of these simple little Pleasures.
Excuse me, “Necessities” to good, Happy Living!”
This piece has been EXCERPTED from La TAVOLA”  ITALIAN-AMERICAN NEW YORKERS ADVENTURES of THE TABLE … To read more Stories like “PROSCIUTTO-Less in NEBRASKA” La Tavola is available on AMAZON.com
by Daniel Bellino Zwicke
Esposito Pork Store
“HEAVEN” !!!
Italian Salami