While there is nothing light-hearted about real crime families, TV shows like The Sopranos and countless movies have made loveable characters out mobsters.In reality, “Fat Tony” Rabito probably wouldn’t be the best dinner companion — especially if you owe him money — but eating at the hallowed Mafia haunt in Brooklyn where he’s been banned from offers a side of excitement for thrill-seeking diners.
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Recently Mark Iacono, owner of Lucali, another Brooklyn eatery with speculated ties to the mob, made headlines recently when he got into a knife fight with a known wiseguy on the street near the pizzeria. Now charged with attempted murder, his new notoriety puts the reality of the Mafia into stark relief. But just like viewers can live vicariously through the reality program Mob Wives without being married to the mob, visitors to these 13 restaurants can sop up the same spaghetti sauce without dodging bullets. We hope. (Photo courtesy of Eater NY)
To catch some present-day gangster action, ultra-exclusive Rao’s and scene-of-the-crime Sparks Steak House are the usual suspects, while Chicago’s Green Mill takes you back to Al Capone’s heyday. Instead of a fedora and pin-stripe suit, these days goodfellas are more likely to be juiceheads that look something like Café Martorano’s owner, nephew of former South Philly mobster “Long John” Martorano, although he chose the culinary life over La Cosa Nostra. (Photo, right: Arthur Bovino).
Many of the mobster restaurants are a real slice of Americana. History buffs gravitate towards places like Campisi’s in Dallas, where mob-affiliated Jack Ruby, Lee Harvey Oswald’s hit man, was known to hang out, and hipsters can check out a real speakeasy in Providence, R.I. — Camille’s, which has seen many a famous face, whether a made man or a Hollywood leading man.
The Greenwich, Conn., restaurant was mentioned in the book Making Jack Falcone: An Undercover FBI Agent Takes Down a Mafia Family. According to agent Joaquin Garcia, the Gambino crime family had a regular table at the ritzy establishment.
Opened by the Masci brothers, hailing from Abruzzo, in 1981, the Greenwich Village spot was blacklisted by the NYPD at one point for being an upscale favourite of mobsters. However, if Presidents Barack Obama and Bill Clinton have dined there, we question how notorious Il Mulino can still be.
Way back in the day, Al Capone was a regular at this Chicago cocktail lounge. A secret passageway behind the bar that allowed for an easy escape is still around today, which might come in handy if you're at the Green Mill on a blind date.
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