The chefs at Desiderio Italian-American Grill hand-roll meatballs, sprinkle spices into the house marina, and fill plates with ravioli shells. They craft every dish using the family recipes of owners Rick Marrero and Victor Rodriguez, creating ricotta cheesecake and Grandma Joanie's meatballs, which blend veal, pork, and beef. What isn't crafted in-house is still handmade—the cannolis arrive fresh from Artuso Pastry, a bakery in the Little Italy neighborhood of the Bronx. The restaurant's dining space extends to an outdoor patio, which shades patrons with an awning, trees, and a cumulus cloud tethered to the roof.
To get a sense of The Greene Turtle's commitment to the neighborhood, one need only sit at the bar and look up. Dozens of mugs hang above the counter, emblazoned with the pub's logo and a unique number—each one belongs to a recurring patron. The Mug Club awards its members with draft-beer discounts and other specials, but more importantly, it allows loyal patrons to feel as though they own small slices of the venue without tattooing their names on the bartender's arm. This sense of shared familiarity is what fuels the entire franchise, which refrains from calling its locations "restaurants" in favor of friendlier terms: gathering places, communities, havens.
Many of the locations contribute more than mugs to their districts. Staff members who participate in the annual Tips for Tots program donate the entirety of one day's tips to a nearby Toys for Tots initiative, and Tuesday Funds for Friends events benefit local organizations. These efforts have been chronicled by press sources such as Food and Drink magazine, with features that liken The Greene Turtles' philanthropic generosity to the generous portions of comfort food that leave the kitchens.
From cheeseburger sliders and flatbread pizzas to handmade lump-crab cakes, the offerings on the menu embrace barroom traditions along with ingenuity. The steak and chicken entrees arrive with classic sides of green beans and yukon gold mashed potatoes, whereas the eastern shore mac ‘n’ cheese updates a comfort staple with chopped bacon, lump crab, scallions, and Old Bay seasoning. Diners can enjoy their meals by the glow of private flat-screen TVs—there's one in every booth—or beneath one of many larger televisions broadcasting sports games throughout the venue.
Park Lane Tavern mimics the feel of European taverns inside and out, from an exterior that pays homage to London taverns to interior furnishings directly imported from Europe. Like a hot dog curtseying to the queen, the menu blends American staples with traditions from across the pond, juxtaposing steaks and club sandwiches with shepherd's pie and fish 'n' chips. Behind a gleaming handcrafted bar, bartenders dole out pints of the tavern's more than 24 beers on tap and pour glasses of wine, single-malt scotches, and small-batch bourbons.
Running off the infectious sonic fumes from his I Am Not a Human Being album and upcoming full-length Tha Carter IV, Lil Wayne lands his spaceship for a speaker-blowing stop on the extended leg of his summer tour. The Grammy winner touts an impressive curriculum vitae punctuated by CEO status, unabashed genre-crossing, and standout lyrics woven together with sagacious metaphors. Although Tunechi fans can anticipate a high-octane performance rife with hit singles as well as mixtape favorites, the tour's white-hot opening acts acclimate concertgoers with equal parts R & B silk, rap grit, and synth-powered spunk. Frequent Lil Wayne collaborator and Miami boss Rick Ross partners with breakout diva Keri Hilson, club-bangers Far East Movement, and velvet-voiced Lloyd for a hard-hitting evening that rivals at-home puppet shows outfitted with homemade pyrotechnics.