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Check out Mikey Pomodoro — just arrived in Hell’s Kitchen to serve elevated comfort food which they describe as “if your favorite Italian restaurant slept with a Shake Shack.”
You might recognize Michael Miranti and Marco Cattafesta from the neighborhood. Michael worked at many local restaurants, including Becco — and Marco’s last gig was manager at the Indian Restaurant, Badshah. Both were both laid off early into the pandemic and Michael pivoted from front of house into private chef work. He catered private dinners, small parties, and backyard speakeasies and developed what he describes as “a really unique Chicken Parm Slider recipe”.
Michael started to sell the sliders as at-home kits and then contacted his friend Marco to help him take Mikey Pomodoro to the next level. They ran a pop-up series in Queens every Sunday in February to test the concept.
Now, with Marco’s connection and the generosity of Badshah’s owner, they have a permanent lunchtime residency at 788 9th Avenue (between W52/53rd Street).
“We’re doing a spin-off of the traditional Italian American dish, Chicken Parmesan. We make smaller patties from ground chicken mixed with fresh parsley, fresh basil, and they’re breaded and topped with our homemade Pomodoro sauce. We get the Mozzarella cheese from Lioni’s down in Bensonhurst, which is where I’m from,” shared Marco. “We source all of our ingredients from either Bensonhurst or Forest Hills (where Michael is from). It’s kind of like bringing our home to the city. We like to keep all of our ingredients local.”
Nothing’s frozen, they make everything from scratch, starting in the kitchen at 8am. Although the sliders are their signature dish they have a 14 item menu. One special twist of being in an Indian kitchen is that their Tutto Bene Chicken is made in the Tandoor clay oven. “In an Italian restaurant, you’d never have access to a Tandoor. So I do the roast chicken in there, which keeps it very juicy, very flavorful. We marinate the chicken for about two days in caper brine and Sorrento lemon juice, then place on skewers with lemons on top so that as it’s cooking the juice comes down. It’s amazing!” revealed Marco.
Michael is proud of his Meatball Parm Hero (a great alternative for those missing the recently closed Manganaro’s Hero-Boy). “These are the meatballs I’ve been making my entire life since I was three,” said Michael, who is now 29 years old. “These are my father’s recipe. Meatballs, Pomodoro sauce, Mozzarella cheese with a fresh ciabatta roll.”
They’ve been working hard on promoting the business by giving out samples — and Michael’s been handing out dog biscuits to attract local interest. “It’s not easy. We strung pennies together to get this up and running. If our food wasn’t as good, I wouldn’t be working this hard.” he said.
It’s great to see “restaurants helping restaurants,” as Michael describes it. You can find Mikey Pomodoro at Badshah at 788 9th Avenue. They are currently open Monday-Friday 11am-4:30pm. You can also order directly from their website — mikeypomodoro.com