If you've driven into downtown Cleveland, then you've probably seen this building -- even if you didn't realize it. It's right on East Ninth, right off the highway, directly across the street from Jacobs Field. New York Spaghetti House was a landmark restaurant, established in 1927. Its name comes from its founder Mario Brigotti, who felt that this building had a strong New York style, which was exactly the type of feel he was looking for, after moving from New York City to Cleveland. This was during the vaudeville era, and the restaurant was a popular spot for the theatre people performing next door at the Empire, including "the Schnozolla," Jimmy Durante.
While the restaurant closed in the early 2000s, I am happy to report that as of summer '04 it is now back open, with only very minor changes to the classic restaurant you remember!
The beautiful wood bar in the lounge remains; the dining area is still a few steps down. There is also an upstairs dining area, but I prefer the downstairs with the murals on the walls. It is a real old-fashioned Italian restaurant, down to the waiters who can memorize your order and repeat it to the chef in Italian.
The food is wonderful and known inside Cleveland and out. Most famous is their brown sauce, created by Mario Brigotti in 1927 when the restaurant opened.
Mario's grandson Jim Brigotti was a former owner, and he commented on the brown sauce after the closing was announced, in a news report published by WEWS. People were still talking about it for years after the restaurant closed, and eventually the family began selling the sauce in local supermarkets. They published a web site, newyorkspaghettihouse.com, which shows where to buy it (Heinen's grocery stores carry it).
Elle's great tribute site has a lot pf photos and a nice history, put together by someone who started going there in 1957. A few decades later, when I was a kid, it was a place that my family went to celebrate special occasions -- and it remains a special place to me.