Solano's Lincoln Lounge

This is the quintessential Italian neighborhood joint of 50 years ago—or, actually, longer. Opened and run by the Solano family since 1950, the Mount Vernon restaurant is a taste of warm and fuzzy nostalgia. On the outside, the place looks like a gritty, old-fashioned social club. Inside, there’s a wall covered with photos (some of them Polaroids—remember when?), wood paneling, and a bar with more mismatched glassware than your Grandma’s kitchen cabinets. There’s nothing fancy here, unless you consider the giant blue swordfish mounted on the wall, ropes of twinkly lights, and a bag of garlic elegant decor. It’s the type of place where the owner, Bob Solano, will know your name after a few visits.

Some favorites at Lincoln Lounge include the Gorgonzola salad, the cavatelli with sausages and broccoli rabe, the “Special Steak,” and pizza.

You could almost make a light supper out of the nibbles the server drops off before you order: crusty bread with butter, Kalamata olives, and hot peppers. Ordering from the menu is for the uninitiated—most regulars know much of what the Lincoln Lounge does best is off the menu (besides the hot and sweet sausage pie): Gorgonzola salad, porterhouse steak—aka the Special Steak—cavatelli with sausage and broccoli rabe, and bargain bottles of red wine. And this is not a spot to rein in your raucous friends. Let loose at the full bar with high-backed red stools. With no car lot and a location at an intersection, parking is thorny here. But the hunt is worth it. After all, this place is an old-school Italian-American institution. But don’t call it Solano’s; regulars say “Let’s do Lincoln Lounge.”

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209 Stevens Ave, Mount Vernon (914) 664-9747

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