There’s something to be said about a place that has been up and running for more than six decades. “Come in. Try something. We’re just starting out. We’ve only been here for 63 years,” joked Patty Spaccavento, owner of Piccolos — located at 92 Clinton Street. We can confidently say that this is one of our favorite, no-fuss spots in town, and we are taking you inside the cucina (that’s kitchen in Italian) for a little taste of all that is good in the world. Keep reading to learn all about Piccolos, serving famous cheesesteaks to Hoboken for over 60 years.
The Man Behind the Counter
Patty’s father opened shop in 1955 after moving here from Molfetta, Italy. Not only did he build his home and business in Hoboken but he met his wife here, too — right on Madison Street. Piccolos quickly became popular with locals in the area. Many who worked at factories such as Maxwell’s, Tootsie Roll, Lipton, and many others in Hoboken made Piccolos their lunchtime spot.
Since then, Piccolos has become a Hoboken staple and a gathering spot for all who are hungry and looking for a good meal. Now owned by his son, Patty (also known as Pattyboy to his friends), Piccolos is a hidden gem but for those who know it well, know exactly what they’re going to get when they stop by.
Many of the dishes on the menu come from family recipes. Patty has been in the kitchen with his father since he was eight years old, learning the ins and outs of the restaurant, naturally. While Piccolos is known for its cheesesteaks and steak sandwiches, it has a ton of other options on the menu, too (read: mouthwatering meatball sandwiches).
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Each day, Patty serves up a Soup of the Day, which could be anything from pasta fagioli to pasta e piselli. And if you really want to feel like you’re in grandma’s kitchen — try the chicken pastina (also known as Italian penicillin — if you know, you know). All of the soups are made from his father’s recipes and give you all the feels. Regardless of what you choose, you will most certainly eat well.
Hoboken’s Best-Kept Secret
Patty describes his restaurant as Hoboken’s best-kept secret — and he’s right. “This is how I equate our success — the quality of what we do to the smile on the customer’s faces.” Trust us, you will leave with a full stomach and a full heart. Consistency has always been their priority.
Posted right on the wall of the restaurant is an article from The Star-Ledger quoting Patty’s father, “I pass my recipes onto my son. If he changes anything, I’ll break his legs.” His father has since passed but his legacy lives on with Pattyboy.
Humble doesn’t even begin to describe Patty. If you know him then you know he is a true, good-hearted, Hoboken guy. He is genuine deep down to his core and loves serving the community. “I just want to help people,” explained Patty. The love the smile and greeting you get when you walk into Piccolos is like no other. In his heart of hearts, he knows how to make people happy: food, family, and love.
Piccolos is open Monday through Saturday from 8:00AM-4:30PM. While their main course is lunch, Patty serves up a basic (but delicious) breakfast until around 10:30AM. You can’t miss the big Piccolos sign on the building downtown so next time you’re in the area, swing by and grab a bite to eat (and of course, say hi to Patty).