The complete narrative of Pepino’s Spaghetti House begins with the “red sauce restaurant” founded by Nick Felicella, Nick’s Spaghetti House. Our studio redesigned the space after Felicella decided to retire after 62 years. The design became a playful ode to this departed past, blending the character and comfort of a familiar space such as a grandparent’s home with the soul of a hidden social supper club. The name, Pepino’s, is taken from the 1950’s Lou Monte song ‘Pepino, the Italian Mouse’ and salutes to Nick’s iconic and beloved racehorse, “Spaghetti Mouse”.
The design results in a familiar yet evolved, romantic, lively and energetic hole in the wall. With its carefully reclaimed fixtures and decor and lightly upgraded finishes, the space retains the warmth and closeness of an old-school restaurant. Its interior keeps most of the original features: the dining chairs, slatted wood panels– where original oil paintings of the Bay of Naples, the Grand Canal and the Colosseum live, accompanied by crystal wall sconces that dimly light the booths. Traces of the restaurant’s age remain untouched, adding a playfulness to the space: the once-required no-smoking signs are on full display in the dining room and a wood-cladded hood vent where new millwork below serves as a waitress station.