For over a hundred years, Rao’s has served up decadent Italian cuisine.
Deep in the heart of Hollywood is an authentic Italian eatery that provides delicious dishes and an upscale ambience that can get you craving for more. The classic menu has lasted four generations and served as the foundation for three locations ranging from the east coast to the west coast. Rao’s has proved that traditional Italian meals still exist.
Known as a culinary national treasure, Rao’s began in the city that never sleeps, New York. Opened in 1896, it is celebrated as one of the country’s oldest family-owned and -operated restaurants. Family traditions have been handed down and cherished for generations with love and flavor.
Frank Pellegrino Jr., the co-owner of all three Rao’s locations, has always seized the day by making guests feel like their family.
As the fourth generation owner of Rao’s, the restaurant business never left his side as he pursued his college degree at Connecticut State University. Pellegrino later moved out to the west to open Rao’s Las Vegas location in 2006. After the success of the Las Vegas location, he to opened a Rao’s in Hollywood in 2013.
With the same taste of the original Rao’s, Pellegrino has brought the dishes of his family to Los Angeles for more restaurant-goers to try. His inviting presence can be seen from table to table as he asks each guest if they’re having an enjoyable experience.
With the traditions of the original family recipes, Chef James Palermo of Rao’s L.A. location has incorporated his own ideas to create a fresh menu for everyone.
“I helped open the Hollywood location. I came on as a line cook and was quickly promoted to sous chef. Once the opening chef left I took over the role of head chef,” says Palermo. “Now I help create and refine recipes for all locations, have input on cookbooks and give my ideas and philosophies to help promote the company.”
His cooking influences began at an early age when he became curious about different cuisines.
“One of my earliest memories is of my great-grandmother feeding me. I’ve always been a very adventurous eater, wanting to try weird or uncommon things when the rest of the kids my age would freak out,” he says. “So naturally I wanted to learn how to cook, and when I was 8 my mom gave me the duty of cooking dinner for the family once a week.”
An average workday for Palermo at Rao’s includes overseeing prep work, checking orders and creating specials for the night.
“The menu concept is just to keep the integrity of those same homestyle recipes that people have been enjoying for decades at the Harlem location,” he says, before adding, “as well as a few slight changes to appease the California/Angeleno palate.”
Some of the most popular dishes at Rao’s include their spaghetti marinara, lemon chicken entrée and meatballs that will blow you away. To try one of these dishes is like a right of passage into the world of decadent Italian cuisine.
You don’t have to take a flight to New York to have the taste of love in a dish. With the exquisite food selections at Rao’s and the L.A. ambience combined together, your next Italian dining experience will never be the same.
Rao’s is located at 1006 Seward St., Los Angeles 90038. For more information, visit raosrestaurants.com.