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Nov 22, 2000 01:00 PM

The old Leone's restaurant

  • p

Browsing the ancient stacks of my new little library, The Skowhegan Free Public Library, I came across a little book called Leone's Italian Cookbook. It was published in 1966 with a foreword by Dwight Eisenhower!I went to Leone's while it was still owned by that family. It was sold in 1959. This is a fine little cookbook. The antipasto section is worth the entire book.(Eg. The calamari salad sounds a lot like mine, except theirs has mashed anchovies.) Anybody out there familiar with it, or the restaurant in it's heyday? pat

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  1. I was there, young, during the NY World's Fair in the sixties (?). I remember it being HUGE and crowded and feeling very sophisticated dining there. We went back during our high school trip to NYC and DC senior year and the place had become pretty much a tourist trap. But I do remember it was well thought of at one time.

    3 Replies
    1. re: berkleybabe

      They had 13 (!) rooms and served up to 6,000 patrons a night!

      1. re: pat hammond

        I was my recollection was accurate! It seemed cavernous to me and I remember several floors, or you entered on the second floor..what were some of the dishes that still sound good?

        1. re: berkelybabe

          1. Mother's baked clams
          2. Mother's minestrone
          3. Zuppa di Pesce
          4. Spaghettini with clam sauce
          5. Lobster fra diavolo
          6. Breasts of chicken oreganato
          On and on and on...

    2. No matter when YOU first went to Mama Leone's, whoever you went with proclaimed that it used to be great but had gone downhill. So why were these so-called friends taking you there? Hmmmm.

      I also went there first during the 1964 World's Fair, and remember the food being poor, but that it was a lot of fun.

      2 Replies
      1. re: Dave Feldman

        I went either in 1957 or 58 with a date from Princeton whom I later married. We started the evening with a few drinks in the Village and continued that activity with several stops, as we progressed uptown. Unfortunately, I can't comment on the food! I recall vividly, however, being the life of the party. pat

        1. re: Dave Feldman

          When I was 16 (many moons ago)--there were so many Sweet 16 parties held at Mama Leone's. And at 16 it all seemed very exciting.

          But by the end of its reign, the food was barely edible. It seemed to take years for its patrons (probably because they were mostly visitors to the city) to catch up with this fact. I don't know how Leone's lasted as long as it did. But it certainly was well-known in its hey day.

          Actually--was the food EVER any good?!