Here at Nook, we have a passion for people, places and properties. There is a reason that we say people first, for what makes a neighborhood special if not the people who live there? Welcome to #TastemakerTuesday, where we’ll feature the visionaries in our favorite nooks who are dedicated to building a better community through their talents.
The meaning of Thanksgiving has morphed over the years, but two constants remain: food and family. I’m not exactly the kind of person to spend years perfecting my grandmother’s stuffing recipe, and I don’t really have the patience for cooking a turkey. The first time I ever had to make Thanksgiving dinner myself, I had my mother and aunt on speed dial for advice. And I won’t even get into the gymnastics involved to defrost a turkey in a tiny Los Angeles apartment.
Since then, I’m lucky that my partner is an excellent cook who actually seems to enjoy the process, but I’ll be honest with you: the least stressful Thanksgivings are the ones where we go out and have a nice dinner somewhere else, where someone else does the cooking and we go home to no dishes and a clean kitchen.
If you’re like me and even the idea of a recipe makes your blood pressure rise, just know there are plenty of alternatives where you can still enjoy fantastic food in a family atmosphere. That’s practically the motto of MIceli’s, “Hollywood’s oldest Italian restaurant.” With live piano, singing waiters and waitresses, and a menu to make you drool, it’s nearly impossible not to enjoy a holiday here.
A true family business, Carmen Miceli and his wife pooled money to open Hollywood’s first pizzeria; hard to believe if you walk down the Boulevard now, but it’s true. Their relatives continued to wait tables, create the authentic Sicilian recipes and pour the exact right wine pairing for that amazing Italian comfort food you so crave as soon as you smell it. When I first moved to L.A., Miceli’s was the one place where I knew the food -- the ravioli, specifically -- would feel just like home. They didn’t know it, but just the smell of Miceli’s marinara helped me curb any homesickness I was feeling.
And if your family comes to town, you can wow them with the Hollywood history embedded in every corner and chandelier. Miceli’s has been in business since 1949, and they have the photos to back it up. As with everywhere in Hollywood, stories of stars abound. These kitchens are supposed to be where Lucille Ball learned how to flip pizza dough for the now infamous segment in I Love Lucy. A funny little fact about the booths in which your family can sit: the famous Pig & Whistle restaurant next to the Egyptian Theater closed down as Miceli’s was building, so they bought all the booths from there. It took 50 years for Pig & Whistle to reopen, but their original booths remain in Miceli’s.
Hollywood had gone through many changes in the last decade, but Miceli’s and their extensive Italian menu remains. It could be a truly tasty and filling alternative to the unnecessary stress of Thanksgiving dinner. And you get serenaded with show tunes!
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Photos: Miceli's Photo Gallery