Home-style Cooking, Family Fun and 30 TVs Tuned to Sports!
By Sally Deering
Whether you want to take the family out for some delicious home-style Italian cooking or you’re a sports fan itching to see your favorite team on a large screen TV while munching mouth-watering Buffalo wings, The Big Apple Sports Palace in Bayonne has it all – 30 Large Screen TVs, shuffleboard, pool, a Sopranos pinball machine and fabulous food at affordable prices.
Vinny Bottino and his wife, Elaine opened The Big Apple in 1976 and in 1989, their son Vinny and his wife Toni took over, expanded the space and put in a kitchen, much to the delight of their regulars. Now known as the Big Apple Sports Palace, families can enjoy home-style Italian cooking and sports fans can watch their favorite games broadcast from 30 TVs including a digital projection screen.
“It was a neighborhood place, one room, and my father-in-law Vinny had rock and roll bands on the weekends, local people playing music,” Toni says. “We never changed the bar, but we changed the walls and floors and put a kitchen in the back. Now it’s a neighborhood place for people to have a great meal and a good time.”
In 2000, the Bottinos expanded next door and made it into a dining room with an outdoor Tiki bar that features a pool table and TV broadcasts of every Yankees, Devils and Giants game, even championship boxing.
“Once the Yankees and Mets are out of baseball, the season’s pretty much over,” Toni says. “But there’s always next year.”
Regardless of what team’s playing, it’s the food at The Big Apple that attracts customers and turns them into regulars, like the Specialty Pizzas – Taco Pizza, Shrimp Scampi Pizza and Philly Cheese Steak Pizza ($15 each,) and the Wraps: Veggie, Chili ($5 each,) Chicken Fajita, Steak Murphy ($6 each.) The dinner menu features Chicken in a Basket ($8,) Shrimp in a Basket ($9,) Chicken Marsala ($11.95) and Shrimp Francaise ($14.95.) And then there are the taste-bud popping appetizers like Fried Mushrooms ($5,) Fried Calamari ($9,) and for all you wing-lovers, the big and juicy Buffalo kind (10 for $5; 25 for $10.) Everything tastes great especially with The Big Apple’s extensive list of draft and bottled beers, frosty cold and ready to quench every beer-lover’s thirst.
“I have a big menu,” Toni says.
And those prices can’t be beat especially in today’s economy where everybody’s stretching their dollars and taking the family out for a meal and a good time can take a big bite out of your wallet.
“You can take your family to our restaurant, feed them, have drinks and not pay a hundred bucks,” Toni says. “And when you buy ten pizza pies, you get one free. We’ve been doing that since we opened. It’s a thank-you to our loyal regulars.”
The Big Apple also has a loyal staff.
“I have people who have worked for me for ten to eighteen years,” Toni says. “That’s a pretty good record. My best friend Debbie Mattiello, she’s been here 18 years, My brother- in-law Mark works here and, of course, my husband Vinny. It’s a family business.”
The Big Apple offers off-site catering for wedding receptions, corporate events, bridal and baby showers and caters on-site parties, too. Toni and the crew revamped the menu last year to include a selection of wraps and salads for those who like to eat light and every day The Big Apple’s menu includes lunch specials.
“You have to constantly change and bring new ideas in and that’s what we try to do,” Toni says.
The Big Apple Sports Palace
Kitchen is open 11 am to midnight; bar opens at 11 am and closes 2 am on weekdays; 3 am on weekends
For more information, visit their website at www.Bigapplesportspalace.com