Sun-Thu, noon-11pm; Fri-Sat, noon-midnight
4, 5, 6, L, N, Q, R at 14th St.-Union Sq.
American Express, Diners Club, Discover, MasterCard, Visa
Houston St. to 25th St, Ave. D to 4th Ave.
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.Prix-Fixe Dinner
Sun, 3:30pm-6:30pm; Mon-Sat, 4pm-6:30pm; $25.50
Mozzarella in carozza, $9.95; polpetti (meatballs), $11.50; penne vodka, $15.50