In their 2011 – 2012 ratings, Zagat’s, the internationally-known restaurant guide, rated Dino and Harry’s Restaurant, 14th and Garden streets in Hoboken, as No. 1 Steakhouse, No. 1 for People Watching in New Jersey, No. 4 in Trendy Restaurants and Top 15 Overall. Just recently, the Syracuse University football team, 105 strong including their coaches and support staff, dined at the restaurant on the Friday evening prior to their matchup with the powerhouse and nationally-ranked University of Southern California.
That was just the latest of celebrity and sports star visits to the restaurant, which garnered it the No. 1 for People Watching in N.J. rating from Zagat’s. Frequent and recent diners at the restaurant include N.Y. Giants Quarterback Eli Manning and N.Y. Jets Quarterback Mark Sanchez and his father, Nick Sanchez. On more than one occasion the entire Manning family has dined there, including Eli, his brother and now Denver Broncos Quarterback Peyton Manning, his father, former New Orleans Quarterback Archie Manning and his mother and brother Cooper.
Other celebs from various walks of life who have frequented the place include former New Jersey governors Jon Corzine, Christie Whitman and Jim McGreevey, U.S. Senators Robert Menendez of New Jersey and Chuck Schumer of New York, President/CEO/General Manager Lou Lamoriello, and player Zach Parise of the New Jersey Devils, former N.Y. Knick Bill Cartwright, and hordes of public officials from throughout the Garden State.
“Aside from enjoying the food and ambience,” says owner Dino Panopoulos, “our celebrity visitors know we will do our utmost to shield them while they’re eating from autograph seekers and well-wishers. For the most part, our clientele is well behaved in that regard and rarely bother them.”
What prompted the Syracuse football team to visit? A couple of things, according to Panopoulos, including the fact that several Syracuse alumni with connections to the school reside in Hoboken. Also, as Panopoulos puts it, “It didn’t hurt that Syracuse Coach Doug Marrone and I played roller hockey together as kids in the Bronx.”
While the game didn’t turn our too well, since the Orangemen lost to USC, the dinner party was a smash success.
“We even had the Cake Boss, Buddy Valastro of Carlo’s Bakery in Hoboken, make one of his special extravaganzas for the occasion,” said Panopoulos.