Holy cannoli. It looks like East Harlem's infamous 100+ year-old mob haunt, Rao's, a home-style Southern Italian restaurant with mob ties and only 10 tables (in 1995 the restaurant was the victim of arson and before its "renovation" only had 8 tables), is coming to Hollywood in place of The Hollywood Canteen on Seward. Sort of a random location, but hey, that's how Rao's likes it.
For those unfamiliar with the New York (and now Vegas) institution, Rao's serves very simple Neapolitan Italian cuisine and is considered one of the toughest reservations in the country not because of its 10 tables, but because to even score a seat at one of those 10 tables, you have to either know a table "owner," or spend big bucks on a raffle like this or this. Oh, and the restaurant is also only open weekdays.
Co-owned by Frank Pellegrino Sr. (aka Frankie No), and Ron Straci, Rao's caters to a who's who list of patrons from New York politicians to celebrities to musicians, you basically need to be someone to dine here or known someone that is someone. And aside from famous people, famous mobsters consider Rao's home and the restaurant has seen more than its fair share of questionable acitivity and crime. Shootings, bodies dropped outside the restaurant, police coming in to remove mobster Joey Cupcake's photo off a wall, and yes, the restaurant was burned down in 1995.
It makes sense that Rao's would open in Los Angeles. Management operates a more touristy offshoot in nearby Vegas, and considering the restaurant's celebrity clientele, Los Angeles is an obvious fit. Plus, co-owner Frank Pellegrino Sr. is an actor himself, having appeared in flicks like Goodfellas and Carlito's Way, and TV show The Sopranos. [EaterWire]