PUGLIA, Little Italy

Special to Forgotten New York

The original Puglia, 189 Hester Street, Little Italy, was opened at 117 Mott Street by Gregorio Garofalo in 1919.  Garofalo, an immigrant from Puglia, Italy, opened to serve the needs of the community with familiar foods: capozzelli (roasted sheep’s head), pasta fagioli, and tripe.  A vintage business card from Puglia translates into “A very friendly place.” The restaurant was in the basement, while the family lived upstairs.  They even made the wine for Puglia in their apartment.

Puglia moved to 189 Hester shortly after World War II.  At one time, the restaurant consisted of four rooms, but is now down to one.  The classic capozzelli was served until about 1980, when trends, and the area, changed.  Puglia is still in the Garofalo family, with Joe II, Gregorio’s grandson, in charge.  That makes it the oldest continuously family-owned Restaurant in Little Italy.  Today’s Puglia serves family-style food and portions with a diverse menu.  Night time brings live entertainment.

Some menu items:

Hot antipasto $12.95
Baked clams  $8.50
Frued calamari $12.95
Arugula salad $9.00
Cavatelli with sweet sausage & broccoli rabe $14.95
Risotto con piselli & pancetta $16.95
Pasta figioli $7.50
Shrimp Fra Diavolo $17.95
Risotta alla Sambuca $17.95
Chicken Travolta $16.95

Yelp.com reviews


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6 Responses to PUGLIA, Little Italy

  1. NY2AZ says:

    Apropos of nothing, but since you’re wandering lower Manhattan & thereabouts:


  2. chris says:

    but whats Chicken Travolta?

  3. r185 says:

    Is this the place where in the ’80s the older woman (a real character – sort of a Italian Sophie Tucker) would sing?

    • tim says:

      It is indeed. She was quite a character with her ribald selection of southern Italian songs!

      • Jeffrey H. Wasserman says:

        I would often go to Puglia’s back in the 1980s with a large group of friends to enjoy the food and the singer you mentioned. Those were good times, indeed!

    • Alyce says:

      Terry Peri (sp?) was her name, and she may have started back in the ’60s, I’m not sure. In the mid- to late ’70s, a bunch of us NYU students would go to Puglia’s from time to time and sit at the long tables alongside the neighborhood “guys” and their families or associates.

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