The ol' Cap
This week the Capitol Theatre in Port Chester celebrated its (second) 1st anniversary. A short history lesson: the legendary venue was built in 1926, and delivered mostly vaudeville and cinema until 1970, when it became a music venue. The stage saw some big names over three decades, including Bowie, Phish, Joplin, The Grateful Dead, The Rolling Stones, and many, many more. So many. All the bands. It then became an event space and hosted things like bar mitzvahs, until Peter Shapiro brought it back to life last year. And he did so by getting Bob Dylan to be the first to step onto the stage again, the first of many amazing nights to follow at the space.
The venue has so many good shows coming up (Willie Nelson, Elvis Costello, and Neutral Milk Hotel are just a few on the calendar right now) that we recently wondered why we don't go there more often—it's only about 25 miles from the city, and it's a very short train ride on MetroNorth, with the station directly across from the venue. To help remedy this, we asked Shapiro for some recommendations on where to eat and drink before seeing a show there, so we can make a night of it soon, perhaps during the Black Crowes acoustic run? Here are some of his favorite Port Chester spots:
This is the more upscale choice, especially atmosphere-wise, but you can still get a $12 pizza off the menu. Otherwise, they've got offerings like Eggplant Parm ($19), Squash Ravioli with Zucchini Flowers ($17), Game Hen with Black Truffle and Insalate Primavera ($25), Roasted Branzino ($29), and daily specials for $26, including a Meatless Monday vegetarian option.
And about that pizza, you'll probably want to try the clam pie, named one of America's best 25 pizzas by Alan Richman in GQ, who wrote, "[With] the clam pie at Tarry Lodge...something profoundly simple and fundamentally correct is done: The clams remain in their shells....Manilla clams, delicate and sweet, briny and fresh, tiny beauties accented by the garlic, oregano, red pepper, and Parmigiano-Reggiano atop a thin, nicely charred crust."
This place serves must-have guacamole, margaritas, and overstuffed soft shell tacos (starting at $2.50 each/$7 for three, up to $3.50 each/$9 for three). They've also got ice cream cones for under 3 bucks, churros and chocolate sauce, and chocolate tamales for the sweet toothed... but what you probably want is a cocktail. Their margaritas are $9.50, but you can get a whole carafe for $48. Did we mention the big outdoor space and water view?
This is your classic Italian restaurant, with plenty of parm dishes, mussels, wood-fired oven pizza ($12), reds and whites (bottles start at $28). These guys also offer $1 oysters, Tuesday through Thursday during happy hour (5 to 7 p.m.), and a Sunday family-style dinner for $19. Bonus: get a $10 gift certificate just for signing up for their newsletter.
Here's another solid red sauce Italian joint, and one of your best bets for walking as it's only just down the block from both MetroNorth and the Capitol Theatre. The no-frills spot serves up everything from garlic cheese bread ($4) to fried calamari ($11), shrimp scampi ($19), and baked pastas ($14). They've also got a Wednesday night pasta special, and bottles of wine start at $24.
EL TIO, 3 stars on Yelp (143 Westchester Ave, the Cap's neighbor)
This Mexican spot is right next to the Capitol Theatre, and will serve you beer, wine, solid plates of nachos ($6), enchiladas (pictured, $14), and a ton of other Mexican fare before the show. The dishes are authentic, and created by the owner himself.