Word leaked this fall that New York City dining legend Rao's was expanding to Los Angeles, and today the restaurant confirms that the plan is to open in late spring or early summer. Though Rao's already has a Vegas location, a press release says that the restaurant's owners have long considered a California expansion. Now, they will finally do so after 117 years of serving up red sauce in East Harlem to those who were able to get in the notoriously tough door.
The Southern Italian restaurant's Hollywood location will offer some of the same menu classics from the New York original, such as the meatballs and lemon chicken. But the new location will also offer some "more contemporary dishes" when it opens later this year six days a week for dinner service. There's no announcement yet on who will lead the kitchen, but stay tuned. For now, here's the press release:
RAO'S RESTAURANT GROUP ANNOUNCES HOLLYWOOD LOCATION
Click to Tweet: #Italian? It's what's for dinner - @RaosRestaurants announces #Hollywood location.
Hollywood, CA. (February 21, 2013) – Rao's Restaurant Group, known for its award-winning and unforgettable Southern Neapolitan Italian cuisine in New York and Las Vegas, is pleased to announce the opening of a location in Hollywood, California. The restaurant will open at 1006 Seward St., on the site of The Hollywood Canteen. The restaurant's partners are targeting a late spring/early summer debut.
"We've had our eye on California for quite some time and think opening a Rao's in Hollywood is a natural progression for our family," said Frank Pellegrino Jr., co-owner and managing partner. "The people of Southern California represent a large portion of our guests in Las Vegas, and many have become good friends of ours. We can't wait to have a Rao's in their backyard to call home."
Rao's Hollywood plans to open with dinner service, six days a week, offering a variety of traditional Rao's classics such as the legendary meatballs and lemon chicken, combined with more contemporary dishes created specifically for this location. Guests can expect to experience the same level of comfort and service that people have become accustomed to in both the New York and Las Vegas locations. The restaurant plans to feature both indoor and outdoor seating, with room for approximately 95 guests in all.
Additional information including the restaurant's executive chef, complete menu and operating hours will be announced soon.
Rao's first opened its doors as a local saloon and 10-table restaurant in East Harlem, New York, in 1896. Its customers were city's residents who came by after work to spend time with friends and family while sharing great food and drink. After receiving three stars by then New York Times dining critic Mimi Sheridan, the restaurant enjoyed increased popularity and is now widely thought to be the toughest reservation to land in the United States. In 2006, the ability to eat at Rao's increased as it opened its second outpost at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas, and made an immediate impact on that city's rising culinary scene and is now recognized as one of the city's top dining destinations. Rao's has been covered by Travel + Leisure, USA Today, Conde Nast Traveler, Bon Appetit, Food & Wine, SAVEUR, Los Angeles Times, The New York Times; and featured on programs such as Good Morning America, TODAY, Fox & Friends, Throwdown with Bobby Flay, Top Chef All-Stars and The Best Thing I Ever Ate. In addition to its award-winning restaurants, Rao's also features a line of gourmet food items available in retail stores throughout the U.S. and at www.raos.com; and have written three critically acclaimed cookbooks Recipes from the Neighborhood, Over 100 Years of Italian Home Cooking and Rao's on the Grill. Learn more about Rao's Caesars Palace at www.raosvegas.com, on Facebook and follow along on Twitter @RaosRestaurants.