the writing and photography of Neil Kramer

Lunch at Lenny’s Clam Bar

Commercial for Lenny’s Clam Bar from the late 1970’s

So, it was like my mudder’s birthday on Thursday and… that’s right, my muddah. What the f*ck is wrong with you? You don’t got no muddah? Just shuddup and listen to my story before I f**kin’ take a baseball bat to your head. Vaffanculo!

It was one of those Jewish holidays on Thursday, and you know how those friggin’ Jews are a pain in butt — non mi scazzare i coglioni — so we had to celebrate her birthday on Friday instead. So, we got a couple of her buddies and ding dang dong, before you know it, we are cruisin in Howard Beach, Queens to the famous Lenny’s Clam Bar. Now that is a f**kin’ place that knows how to treat a grosso calibro with dignity, not like that demeaning friggin stuff you get at the fake Goomba Olive Garden, where their manicotti is as hot and sticky as my balls and their garlic bread is as hard to bite as a .45 automatic.

Sure, when we first walked into Lenny’s, the lying maitre de told us they didn’t have no stinkin’ lunch menu when they really did, un bastardo, but whatcha expect? Times are fuckin’ tough. Even the Wall Street guys don’t want to pay a hooker two hundred bucks for un pompino! You want a lunch menu, take your big ass over to one of those places where that Chinaman puts who knows what merda into his chop suey. Vaffanculo a Lei, la sua moglie, e’ la sua madre. Lei e’ un cafone stronzo. Io non mangio in questo merdaio! Vada via in culo! (You, sir, go fuck yourself–and your wife and your mother. You are a common turd! I’m not going to eat in this shithouse. Fuck you!) from the book Merda! The REAL Italian You Were Never Taught in School by Roland Delicio © 1993 from Penguin Books.

But let me tell ya, the food at Lenny’s — la cena era deliziosa. Just like mamma used to make. And everyone’s been there. Frank, Frank Jr., Rocky Graziano, the “Family,” all the Sopranos — they love the shrimp and the clams!

Oh, by the way, the waitress at Lenny’s — una bella fica (very nice ass). It was a memorable birthday for my muddah, and for me.


  1. Sammanthia

    Sounds great, but I don’t think I’m gonna find anything like that in KY… I guess I’ll have to make do with Wendy’s and Captain D’s.
    Happy birthday to your muddah!

  2. Crys

    clams and ass, is this what you’re telling me?

  3. Dagny

    Entertaining tale but now I have to nitpick.

    There are more consonants than what I imagine. Because the type of guy I think you are going for here wouldn’t use some of the consonants that you have. Think Shakespeare. Did you read it aloud?

    Because if youse been readin my stuff lately, youse woulda known that I use ta know some real life made guys. Anz I still know wheres to find ’em.

  4. SAJ

    Wow! Worked for me! But then I no nothing about this world. I love this stuff! More! More!

  5. better safe than sorry

    used to love the sopranos, the food, yum!
    happy birthday to your mudder.

  6. kenju

    I’ll ask mr. kenju if he remembers it.

    I have never been an aficionado of the Olive Garden, but you have just made ANY visit there impossible!! LOL

  7. Lis Garrett

    “their manicotti is as hot and sticky as my balls”


    I’m still trying to get that image out of my head . . .


  8. Neil

    Dagny — I think you are right. The Sopranos would never hire me with that fake dialogue.

  9. Noel

    What’s un pompino? I gotta know

  10. Neil

    Noel — Think Monica Lewinsky if she was Italian.

  11. Amy K

    I used to work with an Italian colleague who swore by Lenny’s. I need to go…he would have leftovers at lunch and I was like…OOOOO.

  12. Astrogirl

    lol nice try, for a Jew. Why you didn’t utilize my services, as a true Sicilian, I’ll never know (dude, my dad speaks Sicilian – I could’ve checked with him on some of the language).

    My only critique, as the previous commenter said, the English is way too good. Drop some of those consonants, esp. at the end, and add a few (lot) more curse words.

    PS As far as street cred, my paternal grandfather used to run numbers and set up card games for the Family in Chicago. Scary! And I do have an Uncle Sal.

  13. psychomom

    bastardo, all of them

    word from your muddah

  14. Astrogirl

    Ok, because I loved your post so much, I’ve given you the honor of being one of my tagees. Tag! You’re it! All you have to do is think of 6 random things about yourself. It’s my first tagging, so be gentle 🙂

    More info here:

    Oh, and I’m actively encouraging everyone to make stuff up if they like. Hell, it’s the web. Who’s gonna know? 🙂

  15. AnnieH(the other Annie)

    Great food and a friggin’ language lesson to boot, n’est ce pas??
    Don’t think I’ll be trying these phrases out on my favorite Italian at work. Then again, depending on the day I just might.

  16. vodkamom

    hello muddah, hello faddah, here I am at..Camp Granada…..That’s what kept going through my mind. (That, and the fact that you were swearing up a storm….whew!)

    Happy Birthday to your mudder

  17. Danny

    Your Italian may not be accurate but this is one of my favorite posts ever. You really nailed the spirit of the thing. Of course I also thought of Allan Sherman’s “Hello Muddah, Hello Fadduh” being the Baby Boomer Jew that I am!

    Buon Compleanno, Signora Kramer!

  18. Neil

    Danny, did you really think my mother and I had “accents?” I still don’t hear it.

  19. Danny

    You’re kidding, right? As thick as congealed pea soup, but it’s less noticeable in NY than it is in L.A.!

  20. wendy

    So from this post and prior…you are an Ass Man. But do me a favor…clarify what makes a nice ass?….Once I believe you even wrote aboyt the difference between a Jewish ass..and the shiksa ass. I would find that a truly enlightening post…..

  21. May

    There are mistakes both in the Italian sentences and in their translation that I would correct if the subject of the conversation was nobler.

    Certainly a F— is not an A–!

  22. Neil

    Wendy — that deserves a week of posts.

    May — yeah, I figured the Italian was poor. I’m not sure what is more insulting to the Italian-American community about this post — the stereotype of an Italian Mafioso talking like this, the fact that the Italian is so bad, or the the fact that he would even mention the Olive Garden without spitting on the floor first.

  23. May


    The only Neil I know in real life is a gentleman. He’s British and does not suspect that in this moment I am mentioning him on a stranger’s weblog.

  24. balou

    Now I know where Christopher Walken gets that voice!

  25. schmutzie

    A happy belated birthday to your muddah!

  26. Manager mom

    You know, I have long been curious how hot and sticky your balls are, so thanks for clearing that up!

  27. Bryna

    That was very SNL with a big OOOOOHHHHH! Exclamation point! 🙂

  28. Momo Fali

    Olive Garden sucks turds. Glad to know there are places like Lenny’s around. Send clams to Ohio, please.

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