168 First Ave.
This venue is closed.
City gardener. Fitness guru. Red sauce entrepreneur. The man who can claim all three of these monikers comfortably is Anthony Macagnone, the former owner of a plant shop, and currently, a fitness studio, and this Italian restaurant (among others). A visit to this classic 1904 storefront suggests he could add “preservationist” to the list. Lanza’s retains old-school charm amid a constantly changing neighborhood. A stained-glass façade displays the first vestiges of days gone by; a pressed tin ceiling and faux wallpaper round out the dining room’s antique ornamentation. The Southern Italian menu seems dated at first glance, and it is, but that’s a good thing for the homesick Italian-Americans coming in to remember yesteryear. And the homey saucing, like the pink vodka slathering penne, sends the good memories flooding back. Don’t be surprised if you find a vine stem in the marinara gravy for the soft, well-seasoned meatballs—it’s a testament to the sauce’s true tomatoey taste, not to mention another authentic tradition.