(ABOVE: Craig Wallace Dale photo)
Here at hMAG, Fridays Are For Frank—but this Saturday is all about LEO’S.
The beloved community institution will celebrate its 80th anniversary with a huge bash this Saturday, April 27th starting at noon with live music and phenomenal specials from a menu that has kept this cherished Hoboken landmark up and running for generations.
On the corner of 2nd & Grand Streets in Hoboken, the “LDT” in the sidewalk stands for Leo Di Terlizzi, founder of Leo’s Grandevous, who set up shop in Hoboken in 1939.
“Leo’s success stems from the dedication of family and long time staff who love what they do,” says current co-owner Nick De Palma. “It is a great source of pride to be able to extend our grandparents’ legacy to another generation.”
Nick and his sister, Grace Sciancalepore, have maintained the convivial old-Hoboken atmosphere of Leo’s, while welcoming newcomers and tourists alike who want to get a glimpse of what makes this town such a desirable place to live.
“We have the same community and neighborhood feeling,” says Grace. “Leo’s is just a place to have a great meal and have some laughs.”
Adorning the walls of Leo’s is a spectacular selection of Frank Sinatra artifacts and memorabilia, drawing in all sorts of folks who want to learn more about the world that shape Frank and his point of view.
Behind the bar is a chair which, legend has it, was used by Frank when he’d sneak back into Hoboken for low-key visits. Leo’s was one of his haunts.
Just before Sinatra’s 100th birthday, renowned writer Pete Hamill joined hMAG for a “Frank” discussion over lunch at Leo’s. On the topic of Ava Gardner, Hamill said, “You know Ava, she knocked him on his ass, with a lot of help from him himself. But he got up,” said Hamill, “and I’m pretty sure that this had something to do with Hoboken, and the Hoboken nature. Because it was certainly true in Brooklyn where I grew up—if you were knocked on your ass, you had to get up. These were people who got up.”
Over 80 years on this corner in southwest Hoboken, Leo’s has gotten up before. Devastating flooding of Sandy came and went, but the restaurant weathered that storm and countless others. Because as everyone who has ever spent any time in Hoboken knows, you can always count on Leo’s.
“The consistency of our food and atmosphere make Leo’s a ‘comfort location’ where our older clients can reminisce, and the younger ones can lay the foundation for new memorable gatherings,” says Nick. “The best part for us is being able to expand the menu and produce high quality dishes at family-friendly prices.”
“We also have Osso Bucco, Branzino, Chicken Rollatini, and Short Ribs,” says Grace, who is proud of both the old favorites and the innovative new items on their ever-evolving specials menu.
Events this weekend for the 80th Anniversary include a kid-friendly outdoor block party with 80-cent bar pies and 80-cent Bud draughts for the adults. There will be live music from the Fuzzy Lemons at 12:30 (Dana Lockett-Harrison, Dave Lambert, Leo Main, Michael Berkowitz) and Casey and the Dirty Water Dogs at 2 p.m. (Casey Solomon – vocals, Sean-David Cunningham – violin, Drew Brady – mandolin, Peter J Bellomo – guitar, Jaime DeJesus – da bass, Kathy Hubley – cajón)—with a special announcement coming at 3 p.m.
The evening will feature three seatings for an extra special dinner celebration, with Matthew Friedman and the Uptown Sounds. Reservations are required.
Stop into Leo’s this Saturday to celebrate the sensational success of a genuine Hoboken establishment, and raise a glass with friends and family.