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Thursday, December 27, 2007

Slow and Steady

There are neighborhood restaurants that seem to have been around forever, yet rarely mentioned and infrequently reviewed. They exist quietly like the Tiro A Segno New York Rifle Club that fascinated me for decades (click here for story). Or the missionary union in Manhattan that has not had one article written about yet - when I catch a friar on camera entering or leaving - you'll be the first to see it. Rocco Ristorante at 181 Thompson Street is a vintage home-style Italian restaurant founded by Rocco Stanziano in 1922 - 85 years must mean something. I have not eaten there yet, but the reviews are quite favorable, even from newer online sites such as It's just not glamorous, trendy or chic. Old, historic business establishments go down different roads. Some maintain quality, but raise prices substantially as they become real legacy businesses. Others just sell out and become money machines without any regard for quality (frequently cutting costs by outsourcing) - sometimes entire towns become tourist traps with businesses like this, such as Boothbay Harbor, Maine. Some catch a trend and reinvent themselves like Astor Place Haircutters - click here. And then there are those places that are sleepy backwaters, just doing things the same way, patronized by customers who like it exactly the way it is. Slow and steady wins the race ...


Lucy said...

I've been there once, it was really old school southern italian in a very nice way. A lot of respect for the food.

rchrd said...

Wow! This was one of my favorite places to eat when I lived in the Village in the 60's. In fact, it's where I had a long discussion with a friend about deciding to leave NY for Berkeley in '68.

Nice to see that it's still there!

And, you could hear Italian being spoken by the entire staff. I don't know if that's true any more about the shops and restaurants in the Village.

My other fave was John's on Bleecker near 7th Ave., which is where I had my first pizza.

Thanks for the picture. Keep it up!

Brian said...

Richard - I've read that University students and faculty frequent the place. I will try this place soon.