NYC’s Forgotten Restaurants – Asti

Vintage postcard from Asti Restaurant in NYC. Previously located at 13 East 12th St in Greenwich Village.

Adolph’s Asti was an Italian restaurant in New York City’s Greenwich Village. It was unique in that many of the waiters were professional opera singers who routinely performed for the restaurant guests. Asti first opened in 1924 and was open for over 75 years before closing on New Year’s Eve 1999–2000.

The walls of Asti featured many framed, autographed photographs of opera singers past and present, including Enrico CarusoBeniamino GigliGiovanni Martinelli, and Jerome Hines. In the center of the restaurant was a grand piano alongside a small stage-like platform with a microphone. During a typical evening at Asti, members of the waitstaff would spontaneously perform an aria or two onstage. A restaurant guest might be invited to sing as well. Other wild and crazy activities would occasionally take place, such as turning the lights down low while several of the guests marched through the restaurant in masks, to the sound of “spooky” music. One regular feature was a performance where someone dressed as a pizzeria chef would “ceremonially” toss around a clump of pizza dough, though Asti actually did not serve pizza.

Asti fare consisted primarily of pasta, seafood, and meat dishes. They also had a lengthy wine list.

Asti made a brief appearance in the movie Big, for Josh’s 13th birthday party.

Back of Postcard – Property of Vaudevisuals Collection

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Revisiting a wonderful Greenwich Village restaurant that offered opera singing waiters and Italian food/wine.

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