Eat & DrinkNew York

Don Pepe’s: Every Italian Stereotype Under The (Tuscan) Sun

Updated: Nov 10, 2010 09:45
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Stop the presses. You know, harking back to a simpler, more innocent and racist time back when people printed things and didn’t blink an eye when both Irish and dogs weren’t allowed somewhere. Well, welcome back, Kotter, because I’m about to unveil one hell of a wormhole in the time/space continuum of New York. The name? Don Pepe’s. The place? Howard Beach, Queens. What the hell am I talking about? Well, I’ll tell ya.

Don Pepe’s is not only the best place to get baked clams, perhaps in the entire universe, but, it’s also like The Sopranos sucked you in to the TV and didn’t let go. If you’ve ever had a Goodfellas/The Godfather/Sopranos/the cooks from Lady and the Tramp-fantasy , this is where you need to go, like, immediately. Yes, Howard Beach is the very same place where various race-related murderings have taken place, and it’s super out of the way and probably not close to any train whatsoever, but I’ll tell you, when you end up eating 5 plates of baked clams, you won’t even care if you’re alive.

Oh, and the plates are family-style, which means that you can be a total pig and no one will be the wiser, AND the carafes of house red wine are only EIGHTEEN AMERICAN DOLLARS. Have you ever heard of such a thing? I don’t know if I’ve drilled this in enough, but the people-watching is un-fucking-paralleled. I think I literally stopped in the middle of my dinner to declare that I love New York.

One more tip: say it’s your birthday. Trust me.

Don Pepe
13558 Lefferts Blvd
Queens, NY 11420
[Howard Beach]

UPDATE: Done Pepe’s Is apparently in Ozone Park, not Howard’s Beach.  Eh…close enough.

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Anna G - Caliburg Contributor

Anna G - Caliburg Contributor

Anna G. is a Southern California native living in the Williamsburg area of Brooklyn since 2005. Anna is constantly trying to unite her love of CA sunshine and the excitement of the New York urban jungle, all the while trying to keep her unwieldy credit card debt under control, and look fabulous at brunch, no matter how un-showered and hungover.

1 Comment

  1. Ooh Batz
    November 10, 2010 at 6:23 am

    Please allow me to clarify (and re-enforce) certain points in this article as I’ve been to Don Pepe many times and grew up in Howard Beach. Don Pepe is NOT in Howard Beach, nor do its Italian patron bear any resemblence to their Tuscan brethern. That being said, the restaurant, its patrons, its staff and its ambiance is straight out of the Howard Beach hey days ca. 1971. Do not be astonished if you’re seated next to a table of “associates” engaging in a “business” meeting. Hint: the boss is seated with his back against the wall facing the door. Do not be astonished if the sleazy staff hit on your wife or girlfriend, unless you appear to have some juice or come from the neighborhood. The food is not as good as you would imagine it to be, but it’s certainly passable. You will recall it as being much better when you recount your fascinating dining experience to your friends and family. Racism is alive and well and thriving in certain parts of old-school Howard Beach, and will continue to thrive wherever ignorance reigns supreme. Go and enjoy your dining experience at Don Pepe’s, but don’t act like a fuckin mook when you go there and no one will get hurt. Ciao.