Saturday, August 21, 2010

The New York Spaghetti House


The great, hideous, vacant Cleveland Trust Office Tower was built in 1971 (not to be confused with the majestic and sadly neglected Cleveland Trust Rotunda next to it on the corner of East 9th & Euclid - more on that someday) and my father worked in foreign exchange on the 27th floor. I won't get into the history of that awful, obsidian atrocity, with its hermetically sealed bathtub-like windows, home to the largest spiders I hope I never see again.

The reason I mention it is that on those occasions I would visit my father in his place of work, he would usually take me to lunch at the New York Spaghetti House, just a walk up the street across from what is now Gateway.

The New York Spaghetti House was established in 1927 by Mario Brigotti at 2173 East 9th. The design was very much inspired by a warren-like New York bistro, taking up a less-than Cleveland-sized footprint, with a intimate dining rooms available by walking down stairs into a sub-level.

The building itself was constructed in 1870 as a parsonage to an adjacent church. According to their own website, Mario and his wife Maria were the entire staff in the early days. And during the 30s, as legend has it, they might accept unusual items in lieu of payment. A "life-size" plaster Indian hung from a wall in the bar for 60 years.

My strongest impression of the place (which I last visited in 1992 or 1993) was always the fact that the meat sauce was kind of beige. The family now bottles the sauce for supermarkets, the restaurant closed in 2001.

Source: The New York Spaghetti House website

UPDATE: 12/16/2015 (Photo: Bud Hilf)

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