10/30/2012 07:27:00 PM

New York's Famed Rao's Coming to Hollywood

Rao's, one of the oldest family-run restaurants in the country, where the connected meet the connected in East Harlem, has its sights set on Hollywood. And not just for the list of mob characters who may or may not have eaten there - the 100-plus-year-old restaurant will open in the former Hollywood Canteen on Seward, according to Eater. This is the second expansion for the Southern Italian stalwart. A double-sided outpost opened in Caesars Palace in Las Vegas several years ago, a great place to stop for a martini, a plate of meatballs and stories from the someone named Johnny the Vest.

Rao's itself is as storied as its clientele. Having only 10 tables in the joint, it's one of the toughest reservations to get in New York; it's easier in Vegas. You have to know someone to know someone who knows someone, or you have to be someone - a politician, celebrity, mob boss. In Vegas co-owner Frank Pelligrino Sr. once told us we could go and sit at the bar a few times, and maybe they'll consider letting us try to make a reservation. Turns out that's true.

Being as connected as it is, the restaurant has seen its share of police activity. Once, the men in blue showed up to take mobster Joey Cupcake's photo off the wall, and the place burned down in 1995. It's practically its own movie script, which is why it makes sense to settle in Hollywood. No details on when the restaurant will open, but we assume it will be an exact replica, just the way Vegas is (only bigger).

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