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Star power boosts opening of Chazz: A Bronx Original

There’s a lot to be said for allure of a star apparently — not to mention promises “life-altering” pizza — when it comes to opening a new restaurant.

This weekend marked the soft launch of Chazz: A Bronx Original a venture between the actor/writer Chazz Palminteri and Aldo’s Ristorante’s Sergio Vitale and Alessandro Vitale. The restaurant features mostly Italian fare including pizza cooked in a coal-fired oven and pasta options, as well as staples like limoncello and bruschetta.

Palminteri, who according to the Internet Movie Database was born Calogero Lorenzo Palminteri, is known for appearing in such films as: “A Bronx Tale” (the inspiration also for the restaurant), “The Usual Suspects,” “Analyze This” and “Bullets Over Broadway.” And, hey, IMDb says he was also “Sonny Cappelito” in “Hill Street Blues.”

Appearing in as movies and TV shows as Palminteri has apparently translates into a healthy following. As a fan myself of pizza and Palminteri’s work, my girlfriend and I went to Chazz’s on Sunday night about 7:30.

The first sign of activity arose when I tried to book a reservation online and learned there were no 7 p.m. slots open. And, while Palminteri was not there, at 7:30 on a Sunday, the place was still hopping and there did not appear to be many tables open.

Once seated, it did not take long before the Paliminteri’s name started wafting in on the air. It seemed people where dropping his name whenever possible whether it was to neighboring tables or wait staff. The couple at the next table must have said “I know Chazz” a good dozen times while I was there.

But, if the restaurant can keep the hype going, I’d say they should do pretty well for themselves. I liked the place and the décor worked for me – kind of a mix of a traditional Italian restaurant with a dash of what to me seemed art deco.

As for the pizza — I opted for the margherita —while I can’t say it altered my life so-to-speak, it was pretty darn good nonetheless.

Watch our video report on Chazz: A Bronx Original.