My husband and I are currently hooked on TNT’s new neo-noir miniseries Mob City. Based on John Buntin’s book L.A. Noir, the six-episode show, which debuted in December (we DVRed it and are just watching it now), chronicles the conflict between the LAPD and mobsters such as Bugsy Siegel (Edward Burns), Mickey Cohen (Jeremy Luke) and Jack Dragna (Paul Ben-Victor) in 1940s Los Angeles. The production is superbly written and acted, but its main draw for me, of course, is its many L.A. locales, one of which, Miceli’s Italian Restaurant, is a spot I visit regularly whenever I find myself in Tinseltown.
Miceli’s, which has the distinction of being both Hollywood’s first pizzeria and its oldest Italian restaurant, is where Sid Rothman (Robert Knepper) serves up two mafia hits with a side of parmesan cheese in Mob City’s second episode, titled “Reason to Kill a Man.”
The eatery was originally established by Carmen and Sylvia Miceli in 1949 and, along with its sister location in Universal City, has served everyone from JFK to Julia Roberts. The place is most famous for its hearty fare—all recipes are Miceli family originals from Sicily—singing waiters; Chianti bottles hanging from the ceiling, which are signed by the guests who drank them; and carved wooden booths, which Carmen purchased from the original Pig ‘N Whistle restaurant upon its closing in 1949 (look closely and you’ll see a chiseled pig with a whistle on the back of each booth).
Located in the heart of Hollywood at 1646 North Las Palmas Avenue, Miceli’s isn’t new to the silver screen or to primetime; it was also featured in the 2007 comedy Knocked Up and a Season 8 episode of Dexter.
Photos: A screen capture from the second episode of Mob City (left) and a photograph of Miceli’s Italian Restaurant taken in June 2009 courtesy of Lindsay Blake (right).
Lindsay Blake is an actress, writer, celebrity admirer and Los Angeles enthusiast who contributes to CityThink each Thursday. Her true love is filming locations, and she founded the Web site IAMNOTASTALKER in 2007 to document her vast findings on the subject. For more “stalking” fun, you can follow Lindsay on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.