The juggernaut, as the New York Times recently called then, The Torris Boys (Major Foods) is going corporate. “Watch Out Boys and Girls,” that means exclusiveness, cachet, and overall cool factor goes down. Major expansion, they going corporate, McDonaldesque if you will. Well not quite, but you know what I mean. The so called Torrisi Boys, Mario Carbone, Rich Torrisi, and partner Jeff Zalaznick who own and operate; Carbone, Parm (2 locations), Torrisi Italian Specialties, and ZZ plan on major expansion in the next couple of years with a large bakery/ restaurant downtown, that will partner with Melissa Weller and feature fresh baked; Bagels,Danish, Bear Claws, Challah Bread, yeast based and other baked goods. Jeff Zalaznick states, “It’s going to be our version of Barney Greengrass.”
The partners whose Parm Restaurant on Mulberry Street next to their first place Torrisi Italian Specialties has been super successful from day one and quickly spawned a sister Parm at Yankee Stadium. The Torrisi Boys (Major Foods) plan on opening several more outposts of PARM all over New York, in; Battery Park, 2 in Brooklyn of which one be near to The Barclay’s Center and another in Williamsburg, the Upper West Side and who knows where else? The New York Times says they plan on building Parm into a citywide Shake Shack style franchise. “Good Luck.” Corporate, make a ton of money, but majorly lose cachet and so-called cool-factor. You can’t have it all boys. They probably do.
Most well-heeled New Yorkers hate chains a corporate conglomerates when it comes to restaurants. Many giant nation-wide food chains who’ve made it big in a large part of the country thought they’d come in to New York and knock-em-dead. Not! Discerning New Yorkers tend to like small independent restaurants, not corporate like Applebee’s and Bennigans. When you see restaurants like Red Lobster and Olive Garden doing well around Times Square it’s tourists and the less well healed New Yorkers going to them, the rest of us hate chain restaurants.
So it will remain to see what happens with Parm, Carbone and the now much smaller Major Foods (Torrisi Boys) empire. With a good number more Parm Outlets open, will the original loss it cachet and hot-factor? Who knows? Probably. And what of Carbone, the flagship of the corporation which has from day one and to this point (March 20, 2014) been uber-hot and still New York’s Hottest Restaurant Ticket in Town? Time will tell, and …
As I’ve said and written before, Daniel makes probably the finest Bolognese Sauce in the country, among other dishes. Daniel besides creating America’s first ever Venetian Wine Bar, has now created and given America another great wonder, in his marvelous new book “La Tavola” Italian-American New Yorkers Adventures of The Table, a wonderful book with wondrous stories of Sunday Sauce, Meatball Parms, The Feast of The 7 Fish and much more. La Tavola is one of the finest books ever written on Italian-American Food and Cuisine, with some excellent wine info and stories as well.
This book take the read on a journey through the Italian-American culinary world; the Food, Cooking, people, and time spent at the table with wonderful stories of all the great dishes, rituals, and the realm of Italian America.
This book is a “Must Read” for anyone interested in Italian food and food in general.
One of the great traditions of the Italian American enclave in the U.S. is the ritual of Sunday afternoon when the entire family gets together for Mama’s or Nona’s famed “Sunday Sauce.” What is it? Well there are a number of variations on the theme. Most Sunday Sauce’s are made with Italian Sausage, Braciola, and Meatballs. Some people make theirs with pork ribs, beef neck, and possibly chicken thighs and backs. These meats are slowly simmered for several hours with tomato, minced onions, garlic, celery, and carrots. I generally like to make my Sunday Sauce with sausage, meatballs, and pork ribs. Other times I’ll make it with sausage, ribs, and braciola. An old tradition in some families is that mother or grandma would start the sauce early on a Sunday morning, get it simmering away for a couple hours on top of the stove, then put it in the oven for a couple hours while everyone goes to church, the sauce slowly simmers and when you get back home, the sauce is ready.
The Sunday Sauce that my mother would make was with sausage, meatballs and beef braciola. My memories are vivid watching my mother stuffing the braciola with garlic,
parsley, Pecorino, and pignoli nuts, then sewing up the bundles with a needle and thread so they would hold together while simmering in the gravy (many families all over the New York and around the country simply call Sunday Sauce “Gravy”). Another fond memory was helping my mother roll and shape the meatballs.
As for me, my Sunday Sauce will vary depending on my mood. One thing I love to do when making the sauce is the addition of pork spare ribs, which not to many people use, I love it.
Whenever people eat my sauce, they go nuts for the ribs and some are surprised cause they might never have had them in a sauce before. They didn’t know that you could use pork spareribs. The ribs are traditional with some but not everybody. It is quite a shame for those who don’t add the ribs because they give the sauce some wonderful flavor and they are incredibly delicious to eat after braising in the sauce for a couple of hours. Whenever I make the sauce and I’m dishing it out to friends and family, I always make sure that I have my fare share of the ribs. Pork ribs cooked in this manner, simmering in the sauce are oh so succulent and tasty. They are far beyond compare. “They are Out-of-this-World!!!” The friends, one-by-one, go nuts for them. “Yes they are most than tasty!”
And what to serve with the Sunday Sauce you ask? It should be a short macaroni; rigatoni, ziti, or gnocchi are best.
The rituals of cooking, serving, and eating Sunday Sauce is a time honored one. It is a beautiful thing. If you mention the term Sunday Sauce to any number of millions of Italian-Americans, the wheels start turning in their heads. Thoughts of how tasty it is, all the different components; the meatballs, sausages, braciola, (maybe ribs, beef or pork neck), the pasta, and the gravy itself.
They think about sitting at the table with friends and or family, people they love. They think about the antipasti that will start the meal and about some good Italian Wine, maybe a nice Chianti. They think about the warmth in the air, loved ones, Dino, Sinatra, and of course, the
Sunday Sauce itself. “It’s a beautiful thing!!!” If you’ve never done it, “Try it!” If you haven’t cooked one for some time, plan a get-together soon. “Sunday Sauce, it brings people together,” in a most delightful way.
“SUNDAY SAUCE” is excerpted from Daniel Bellino Zwicke’s
upcoming book “La Tavola”