Bill Boggs Visits Patsy's Italian Restaurant in NYC - New York City Article

Bill Boggs with Chef Sal and Will Friedwald

Bill Boggs Corner Table at Patsy's Italian Restaurant, New York City

Published Jun 26, 2019
Updated Jul 7, 2019

By: Bill Boggs

When I moved to New York to host the TV show, "Midday Live with Bill Boggs," it was in the pre-Kardashian era-1975. I moved into 240 Central Park South at Columbus Circle. As I got to know my neighborhood, I was delighted to see a most inviting Italian restaurant a short two-minute walk from the back door of my building.

Best Italian Restaurants in New York City

The Restaurant is PATSY'S ITALIAN RESTAURANT OF NEW YORK, on west 56th street. It has been owned and operated by the Scognamillo family since 1944. I went in for the first time one chilly afternoon in the winter of '75 for a Tre Colore salad together with Spaghetti and Meatballs, and I've been back regularly ever since. This column is a love song to one of my favorite haunts. Patsy's serves classic Neapolitan food with the kind of warm hospitality that you will only find in an establishment where the great grandson of the founder is the host who greets you at the front door.

The best description I've come up with to describe the place is, "Patsy's is like the little Italian red-table cloth neighborhood restaurant from your hometown that got dressed up and went to New York and made the big time."

Chef Sal Scognamillo now runs the operation with and his wife, his son, and his father, Joe, who himself was once the chef. Sal talks about the restaurant's mission as it celebrates its 75th anniversary. "We want to keep the traditions that grandma and grandpa started more that 75 years ago. When someone chooses to walk to your door, you thank them for coming, and make sure they leave happy."

Visit Patsy's Italian Restaurant in Midtown Manhattan

Patsy's was a longtime favorite of the great Frank Sinatra, and the lineage of the place's popularity with celebrities is evidenced by the framed pictures of big-time stars on the walls by the entrance and bar. One time, while having dinner, I noticed that Tony Bennett, George Clooney and John Travolta were dining nearby at separate tables.

I recently stopped by Patsy's with a hungry friend, Will Friedwald, the esteemed music writer, contributor to Citiview, author of "Sinatra: The Song is You A Singer's Art," and a forthcoming biography of Nat King Cole.

Our first dish was a big treat, and personal favorite, from the menu--"Mozzarella in Carozza" (for two), which is fried mozzarella with a side of marinara sauce. Here is a dish that has been bastardized as "Fried Mozzarella Sticks" by every airport pub and cheap chain in America. Those mass-produced sticks take second place only to Caesar Salad as being a dish that bears little resemblance to its original creation. At Patsy's, the inviting texture, taste, and blend of the preparation is transcendent, and it's so lightly fried that it seems to float on your tongue. The ones you get in the airport are like chewing cigars dipped in too thick, bland sauce.


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Other Neapolitan classics that are notable for their integrity are "Spirali all Napoli," Spirali pasta mixed with ricotta and filleto sauce (with prosciutto) and topped with a meat sauce; "Stewed Tripe alla Napoletana," served in a sauce of onions, prosciutto, green peas, tomatoes and white wine; and "Stuffed Calamari," stuffed with shrimp, calamari, crab, lobster, raisins and pignoli-in a tomato and garlic sauce.

For our entrees, I ordered the "Chicken Contadina," a half of Amish chicken, cut into small pieces, fried with garlic, mushrooms, red peppers, and potatoes. Mr. Friedwald went for the fast ball right down the middle with a beautiful order of "Spaghetti and Meatballs." The balls are veal meatballs seasoned with garlic and cheese with the classic Patsy's Tomato Basil sauce.

Some other top-notch dishes we enjoyed that night were, "Asparagus Parmigiana," "Tortellini with Meat Sauce," and a spectacular Napolean for dessert.

I think that you will really enjoy Patsy's for the combination of beautifully prepared Italian food presented by a team of European professional waiters.They offer both a prix-fixe lunch menu as well as a pre-theater menu from three until six pm. Their location on 56th between Broadway and Eighth Avenue is just a short walk to the Theater District. Patsy's is open from lunch until late night seven days a week.

They have a complete line of sauces which were launched back in the mid- 1990's to great acclaim, so you'll be able to take a little bit of the famous restaurant home with you.For a trip inside Sal’s kitchen take home a copy of one of Chef Sal’s two cookbooks. Each of these cookbooks includes many of Sal’s favorite recipes, as well as his new twists on your favorite classic Italian dishes.

Stop by and tell them Citiview sent you.

BILL BOGGS see BoggsTV on You Tube

236 West 56th Street
New York

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Author: Bill Boggs

Author: Bill Boggs

Bill Boggs is a four-time Emmy Award winning TV host, Producer and Author who spent a decade on air at Food Network. He writes a column for and his work can also be read at, or you can visit Bill Boggs TV on YouTube.