Joseph Yaccarino emigrated from Naples, Italy, with his parents and 11 siblings at the turn of the century. He was just an infant at the time, allowing him to build nearly his entire life on North American soil. Joe's first professional endeavor was on stage, where he established himself as a comedian dubbed "Biggie." However, it wasn't long before he decided to lend his charisma—and nickname—to a different arena, one in which he'd never go hungry. Joe entered the food industry, starting by selling clams door to door.
The modest mobile business grew increasingly popular, and Joe eventually decided to apply his passion for mollusks toward opening a full restaurant in Hoboken. Three generations later, the original red brick location still thrives, as do three other locations that maintain the same family atmosphere and sea-bound smells of fresh raw oysters on the half shell. Warm italian sandwiches with fillings such as meatballs and sausage with peppers round out the menu.
South America meets the Iberian Peninsula at Bohemia Restaurant, where meals of tapas and wine fuse Latin and European influences. Vivid yellow and red walls surround guests as they dine on ceviche flavored with a Peruvian red-pepper sauce, empanadas, or skirt steak with chimichurri sauce. Bartenders concoct sangria, mojitos, and caipirinhas, only adding to diners' confusion that they might actually be on the coast of Spain. Bohemia also offers wine by the glass or the bottle, with the list featuring different varietals such as garnacha, rioja, and cava.
The culinary wizards at Spanish Pavillion adroitly sate hunger pangs with their multifarious lunch and dinner menus that feature authentic Spanish cuisine. Noontime noshers feast on handheld victuals such as an imported ham-and-cheese panini with saffron aioli ($8) or delve carnivorously lunching forks into the meaty depths of the 8-ounce filet mignon with mojo verde ($16). During dinner, put kindergarten-honed sharing skills into practice with the savory tapas menu, which dishes out small plates including a Galician bean stew ($4), grilled chorizo ($9), and octopus with hot paprika ($11). Larger entrees include the paella calasparra, hosting a toothsome protein party of clams, mussels, prawns, calamari, scallops, chicken, shrimp, and chorizo congenially hot-tubbing in a saffron seafood broth ($26, $49 for two). Red-wine-braised short ribs delight mouths with their tender flavor-kisses ($24), and the 1.25-pound grilled twin lobsters team up in matching red costumes for a palatable duet ($31).
Under the full-sized antlers that crown hanging lamps in Cowgirl Sea-Horse, exposed brick and mismatched strips of wallpaper watch as forks sink into seafood and creative, Mexican-influenced American fare. Live music marinates in the sunlight spilling through multiple sets of French doors, which whisper Parisian nothings as margaritas and clink atop the rustic bar. Brunchtime bellies greet French toast crusted with Capn' Crunch, and on Taco Tuesdays, $2 soft or crispy tacos sail on pico de gallo seas to smuggle beef, chicken, or beans into gullet ports. During lunch and dinner, side dish-stuffed Beach Baskets showcase white fish reubens and Creole crabcake sandwiches goosed with jalapeno tartar sauce, while collard greens join whiskey pork chops and salads arrive under a drizzle of Sea-Horse pineapple citrus vinaigrette.