New York Daily Photo Analytics

Monday, April 30, 2007

Raffetto's

This shop may be small in size but not in stature - one of those special little NYC "secrets" that everyone wants to find and frequent. Remarkably, Raffetto's at 144 West Houston Street has been in business since 1906 - 101 years at the same location. The business is a 3rd generation family owned and run operation. It was started by Marcello Raffetto and continued by his son Gino (born in the same building as the shop in 1922) and now brothers Andrew and Richard with their mother Romano. The focus here is on the products, not glitz - they are low profile. Some long time residents of the neighborhood I have spoken to were not even aware of its existence. This place is old school - they do not have a website, take no credit cards and are closed Sunday and Monday. Pasta is their raison d'etre along with prepared foods and a few other essentials such as homemade sauces, oils, spices and condiments. They make their pasta right on the premises with 20 types of ravioli and tortellini plus 15 varieties of plain egg pasta. The bulk of their business is wholesale - they sell to about 300 of the finest restaurants, hotels and gourmet shops in the city such as Gotham Bar and Grill, Il Mulino, Fairway, Zabar's, Dean and DeLuca. The shop's atmosphere is cozy, social and friendly - in my short visit there for this post, I met the owner and two professional photographers. Everything is excellent and highly recommended. My favorite is the goat cheese ravioli with pesto ...

15 comments:

mayotic said...

This place looks fantastic. You mentioned three of my favorite foods: pasta, goat cheese and pesto.

Merisi's Vienna For Beginners said...

I love the wooden cassettini with the glass window in the door! Would love to cook with those giant maccheroni (I would use them for oven-baked pasta, like extra-long ziti, since I cannot imagine eating them like spaghetti, rolled up on a fork *g*).

Brian said...

mayotic - I love pesto and goat cheese.
merisi's - you're way beyond me in your knowledge of pastas!
Brian

Irina said...

It sounds fantastic - 101 year at the same location!
I like the collage you made.

Dina said...

wow! how many company's can say they've been in business for 101 years!! with without todays technology's ( web site, credit cards, etc) truly goes to show you that the "old school" ROCKS!! I love all the names too...Gino, Ramano..too cool. the food sounds "ONO" (delicious in Hawaiian)!

Brian said...

In the US, 101 years is a pretty big deal, especially for a small family owned business in one location. In NYC, you have the added problem of rising rents which makes survival particularly difficult.
Brian

twilite said...

Hi! Sounds like a great place to frequent. Shall visit this place when I'm in NY. Thank you.

Abraham Lincoln said...

What a surprise this was. I looked at the picture in the portal and then when I got here I looked again and concluded that it was an art store where you buy supplies. If you let your mind wander it could be. It is a nice photo that really surprised me.

My Theme Day is of a city unto itself, with its own zip code, and a portrait of the "Peashooter" at the National Museum of the United States Air Force. Hope you like flying.

Ira.B said...

I really like the gorgonzola and walnut.

Anonymous said...

Heh Richard and Andrew! When are you going to send an email? Your cousin Angelo from UK.

Anonymous said...

EVERYTHING IN THE PICTURE LOOKS GREAT - I AM OF ITALIAN HERITAGE - BOTH SETS OF DEC. GRANDPARENTS CAME FROM SICILY AT THE TURN OF THE CENTURY AND MY MOM, ANN JUST PASSED AWAY, FEB. 28 AT THE AGE OF 93. MY MOM AND GRANDMOTHER AND GODMOTHER COOKED FANTASTICALLY AND I LEARNED FROM THEM AS I WAS RAISED IN BROOKLYN IN THE SAME HOUSE AS MY MOM'S PARENTS -- AND I ALSO SPOKE ITALIAN WHEN I WAS YOUNG - I WAS BORN IN BROOKLYN AND MY GRANDPARENTS WOULD TALK OF ITALY - THEY CAME ON THEIR HONEYMOON AND NEVER WENT BACK - MY MOM WAS A GREAT COOK TOO - SHE MADE SPAGHETTI WITH FISH THAT MY DAD CAUGHT -- AND ALSO CLAM SAUCE, CRAB SAUCE, MARINARA SAUCE - WE HAD ST. JOSEPH'S TABLE AND OPENED UP OUR HOME (THAT IS MY GRANDPARENTS DID) TO ALL THE FAMILY AND NEIGHBORS AND RELATIVES - AS GRAMPA WAS NAMED JOSEPH AND SO WAS MY UNCLE, JOE, WHO DIED 2003 AT AGE OF 96. I AM NAMED AFTER DEC. GRANDMOTHER (DAD'S MOM) WHO NEVER GOT TO SEE ME - SHE DIED BEFORE I WAS BORN - VINCENZA -- I NEVER MADE HOMEMADE MACARONI - BUT MAKE EGGPLANT AND ZUCCHNI AND HAVE BEEN PUBLISHED FOR THE EGGPLANT RECIPE AND ALSO FOR MY MOM'S FAMOUSE CHICKEN SOUP RECIPE WITH ACINI DI PEPE. I WOULD LOVE TO VISIT YOUR PLACE AND I DO BELIEVE THAT -- IT IS GREAT - THAT YOU HAVE HAD THE BUSINESS AND THIRD GENERATION OPERATING IT - AND THRIVING IN NYC WHEREBY ALL IS EXPENSIVE AND RENTS -- THE PICTURE LOOKS LIKE A PAINTING - MY DAUGHTER IS A PROFESSIONAL ARTIST WITH A BFA -- AND DID THE MACY'S CHRISTMAS WINDOWS FOR THE CHRISTMAS BEFORE THIS PAST ONE - HANDPAINTING -- WORKS FOR SCENIC DESIGNS -- AND I SAW THEM ON HOME AND GARDEN TV SHOW - SHE IS FAMOUS - AND I AM DOING COMPTUER GENERATED ARTWORK FOUR YEARS NOW - AS SHE INSPIRED ME TO PICK UP A PAINT BRUSH ONCE MORE - I DID OIL PAINTING AND WATERCOLOR WHEN I WAS VERY YOUNG IN BROOKLYN MUSEUM OF ART STUDENT ART LEAGUE --- SHE HAS MY PAINTING - AND NOW I AM PUBLISHED FOR CNY UNIQUE MAGAZINE - PEOPLE WITH DISABILITIES IN CNY WHERE I LIVE AND HAVE LIVED FOR 35 YRS. I AM ALSO IN THE EXCEPTIONAL ARTISTS ADA2007 EXHIBIT IN SYRACUSE NY -- WHICH JUST OPENED LAST WEEK AND WILL BE UNTIL END OF AUGUST. SO DAUGHTER AND I HAVE THE EYE. WE SEE THINGS DIFFERENTLY THAN OTHERS -- AND SEEING THE MACARONI AND SPAGHETTI AND THE SETUP OF YOUR PLACE -- IT IS LIKE A PAINTING -- PLUS LOOKS LIKE A RELAXED ATMOSPHERE -
I TRY TO CREATE PAINTINGS THAT ARE
SOOTHING AND GIVE A CALMNESS TO THE VIEWER.
MY SPOUSE AND I HAVE A SMALL GARDEN TOO - IN FRONT OF OUR RURAL HOME -- WE HAVE BASIL, ZUCCHINI, GARLIC, TOMATOES, PEPPERS, CUCS, --
AND WE ARE SURROUNDED BY ORCHARDS AND FARMS -- AND WE DO HOMECOOKING AND FREEZING --
I HAVE NEVER BEEN TO ITALY BUT WOULD LOVE TO GO - AND YEARS AGO, WHEN I WORKED IN NEW YORK - BATTERY PARK AREA FOR U.S. CUSTOMS - IN THE L960'S I WOULD TRAVEL UPTOWN TO DIFF. RESTAURANTS - AND CHINATOWN - AND TO ART GALLERIES AND MUSEUMS - I WOULD LOVE TO COME TO LITTLE ITALY - IN 1991 MY DAUGHTER WAS HONORED FOR HER ARTWORK IN SOHO -
NEAR HOUSTON STREET AND MY PARENTS CAME TO THE RECEPTION TOO -
IT WAS GREAT AND MY MOM KEPT SAYING THAT THIS PLACE WAS NEAR WHERE SHE LIVED -- SHE LIVED ON LOWER EAST SIDE AND WAS BORN THERE - AND THEN IN 1924 MY GRANDPARENTS HAD SAVED ENOUGH MONEY TO BUY A BROWNSTONE IN ENY BROOKLYN, WHERE I WAS RAISED -
MY GRANDMOTHER TOOK IN SEWING - THERE WERE FIVE CHILDREN BORN IN AMERICA - MY MOTHER WAS THE SECOND YOUNGEST -
MY GRANDFATHER HELPED TO BUILD THE SUBWAYS AND WAS FOREMAN AND WELL LOVED - AND LIKED BY ALL.
SEEING THE ORCHARD ST. MUSEUM AND TENEMENT -- I HAVE HEARD THE STORIES OF HOW MY MOM AND HER SIBLINGS ALL LIVED IN ONE ROOM - LOWER E. SIDE - PERHAPS I WILL GET TO VISIT - PLEASE LET ME KNOW IF THE STORE IS HANDICAP ACCESSIBLE - AS I USE A QUAD CANE AND CANNOT WALK LONG DISTANCES. --
ALSO IF YOU DO TAKE ORDERS ONLINE WOULD LOVE TO KNOW -
THANK YOU - VAG

GOOD LUCK TO ALL OF YOU - KEEP THE FAITH AND KEEP THE CULTURE -
AND KEEP IT SIMPLE -
THAT IS WHAT THIS COUNTRY NEEDS IS TO GET BACK TO TRUE PERSONAL COMMUNICATION --
AND INTERPERSONAL COMMUNICATION - AND TO SLOW DOWN - -
THE FAST PACE -- QUALITY OF LIFE -
AND STRESS ARE REALLY BAD - FOR HEALTH AND FOR FAMILIES - AND
FOR SAFETY TOO.
I THINK OUR SOCIETY IS MISSING OUT ON ALOT -- IT IS BYPASSING SOME OF THE FINE QUALITIES AND FOUNDATIONS THAT OUR COUNTRY WAS BUILT ON.
GOOD LUCK TO YOU ALL

VAG said...

EVERYTHING LOOKS JUST TEMPTING - AND I WOULD BUY THE SPAGHETTI AND MACARONIS AND THE OLIVE OIL AND
LOTS OF THE WONDERFUL FOODS TOO -
BEING OF ITALIAN DESCENT - SICILIAN AND BROUGHT UP IN ENY AND HAVING WORKED IN NYC WHEN I WAS VERY YOUNG -- PLUS HAVING ITALIAN DESCENT PARENTS AND GRANDPARENTS -
(WHO CAME THROUGH ELLIS ISLAND) TURN OF CENTURY - LEARNED TO COOK VERY YOUNG -
PUBLISHED IN BOOK (RECIPES) AND ALSO WAS IN LI PRESS NEWSPAPER FOR FAVORITE RECIPE OF THE WEEK FOR EGGPLANT - MANY YEARS AGO -
LOVE TO COOK -
LOVE TO GARDEN -
LOVE TO LEARN MORE ABOUT THE CULTURE AND MY HERITAGE -
LOVE TO SEE A BUSINESS LIKE THIS THRIVE IN EXPENSIVE NYC. - GREAT AND THIRD GENERATION FAMILY - I AM SECOND GENERATION - BOTH SETS OF GRANDPARENTS FROM SICILY - CAME IN TURN OF CENTURY -
MOM JUST PASSED AWAY AND MISS EHR TERRIBLY AND MY DAD PASSED AWAY TWO YEARS AGO -- THEY GAVE ME ALOT TO BE THANKFUL FOR - AND
MY DAUGHTERS HAVE THE ARTISTIC TALENTS - INHERITED - MY DAUGHER IS PROF. ARTIST WITH MFA - AND HAS PAINTED FOR PRES. BUSY, STATE OF THE ART PODIUM - FOR MADISON SQ. GARDEN -- SPEECH - ABOUT TWO YEARS AGO - SHE HANDPAINTED THE STAIRS - SHE ALSO DID THE MACY'S CHRISTMAS WINDOWS TWO WINTERS AGO - HANDPAINTED WITH THE OTHER ARTISTS - SHE HAS ME REDESIGNING MY LIFE NOW TO INCLUDE THE HIDDEN ART TALENT -- I HAD - AND LEFT - HIDDEN AS I WORKED AND RAISED A FAMILY - BUT I OIL PAINTED AND DID WATER COLORS AND EXHIBITED AT THE BROOKLYN MUSEUM OF ART - WHEN I WAS L YRS. OLD - AND WENT TO CLASSES THERE IN STUDENT ART LEAGUE FOR TWO YEARS - NOW I AM DOING COMPUTER GENERATED PAINTINGS AND SKETCHING AND AM PUBLISHED.
I LOVE TO COOK - AND AM A GOOD ITALIAN COOK - PLUS WE GARDEN AND WE ARE ABLE TO HAVE ACCESS TO FRESH VEGGIES - THROUGH LOCAL FARMS AND FARMERS MARKET - AND ORCHARDS AROUND US -
MY FAMILY USED TO MAKE WINE IN NY - I WAS VERY YOUNG AND HELPED - AND WE HAD DELIVERY OF THE GRAPES EACH SEPT. AND GREAT RED WINE -- THERE WAS ALSO A WINE CELLAR.
NOW MY NEIGHBOR IS MAKING WINE.
THERE ARE NOT MANY THIRD GENRATIONS DOING THE JOB OF THE FIRST GENRATION - YOU ARE A RARITY - AS I AM TOLD I AM RARE TO HAVE BOTH SETS OF GRANDPARENTS FROM SICILY AND MY PARENTS MARRIED - AND I AM THE SECOND GENRATION - ON MY DAD'S SIDE AM THE OLDEST FEMALE GRANDCHILD AND MY BROTHER THE OLDEST MALE GRANDCHILD - MY MOM JUST DIED AT AGE 93 AND MY DAD TWO YEARS AGO AT AGE 9L -
WE HAVE MANY GOOD COOKS IN OUR FAMILY - TOO -
HOPE WE CAN GET TO YOUR PLACE AND SEE THE AREA AROUND IT TOO.
THANK YOU AND GOOD LUCK

Anonymous said...

I grew up on their pasta and loved it alot. I'm moving back to the area and will be taking my husband their for his first time as soon as I can.I also hope to introduce the next generation of my family to their pasta which will be the third Generation my niece.

Lauri said...

OMG! My last name is Raffetto and I'm from upstate NY. I had no idea about this place. Thanks for sharing! Do they have a website?

bookhling said...

Ugh. I feel so hungry now. I'm definitely visiting this place, and maybe I'll even try the goat cheese ravioli with pesto.