Located at 230 Park Avenue in the Helmsley Building next to Grand Central Station, the real center of the universe, this Bobby Van’s brings back the old-school steakhouse experience. After all, owner Ricky Passarelli, his brother/manager Lenny Passarelli, and his partners have a stake in ensuring you have the best steakhouse experience of your life.
They say it’s all about location, location, location, and it doesn’t get any better than the “The Original” Bobby Van’s flagship location, the city’s most delicious destination, which is now independently owned and operated. The intimate bar area in this grandiose space even features an exact replica of the gargoyles you can find all around Grand Central Station. With a famous address and partners who hail from the city’s most famed steakhouses, Bobby Van’s is a steakhouse superstar.
While he has already achieved succulent steakhouse success, Ricky Passarelli is taking his high-quality establishment to new heights with the addition of his new partners. “Al Serpagli and Patrick Brennan are steakhouse veterans,” explained Passarelli. “They have worked at the hottest steakhouses in the country, the Palm and Smith & Wollensky’s.”
Al Serpagli, who is in love with Bobby Van’s lambchops, brings his extensive experience from running the front of the house at the original Palm Restaurant for almost 40 years. He also brings a large customer base, and he knows just what sets this steakhouse apart. “They buy the best food available on the market. The steak, pork chops, chicken, fish—it’s all top-of-the-line, quality food. The meat, which is from the best purveyors, is aged from 21 to 35 days. It doesn’t get better than that. Our clientele and the type of business that this restaurant does is unique, and the location can’t be beat. Our clientele are beyond customers; they’re family, and it goes to the second, third and fourth generations. When they come here, they feel at home.”
The talented team behind some of the restaurant’s most tantalizing dishes also includes Chef Robert Dickert, or ribeye royalty! Chef Dickert is, after all, the great-nephew of the legendary Peter Luger. Since becoming part of the Bobby Van’s family in 1996, Dickert has made the restaurant even more delicious by providing unparalleled service and quality food.
For a more laidback atmosphere, Lea Wine Bar, which the owners just opened right next door to Bobby Van’s, is the perfect place to unwind with a glass of wine after work or any time. At this relaxed space set amidst red walls, you can go from drinks to dinner, or even enjoy the full Bobby Van’s menu without leaving the bar. Lea Wine Bar, which invites a younger crowd to enjoy expertly mixed drinks by their bartender John O’Donnell, who has been a part of the Bobby Van’s family for over two decades, also features a vast collection of photographs depicting rock legends who are almost as legendary as the location they are hung in. With a striking floor-to-ceiling bar, the Bobby Van’s team is setting the bar high at Lea Wine Bar! In addition to classic Bobby Van’s specialties with a casual twist, they offer tasty tapas, sushi, creative cocktails and an extensive wine menu.
Serpagli, who has been in the food industry all his life – he was born in Parma, Italy, which is all about food – is also excited about the recent grand opening of Lea Wine Bar. “It does take it down a notch as far as age. It caters to a big crowd, they have their own clientele, and it’s already been very successful. After 9/11, Wall Street came to Park Avenue. A lot of these people live in Westchester or are heading to the train station after work, and they come here and have a snack, or go to Bobby Van’s, and then go home. You can go to Lea and hang out with a couple friends and have a sandwich or a couple beers. It’s the best food—the best.”
With a strong commitment to service and of course, the city’s most succulent steaks, it’s not hard to see why everyone from Wall Street tycoons to star athletes can be found indulging in the fine fare at this New York institution. With high-quality meats, as well as their un-stuffy steakhouse environment, a business meeting at Bobby Van’s is one meeting you will really want to bite into. Their mouthwatering menu, which also features fresh seafood selections as well as pasta and wood-fired pizza, is executed by Executive Chef Craig Jermin, who makes sure each carefully crafted plate takes your taste buds on a culinary adventure, especially when topped with their best-selling Bobby Van’s sauce.
Bobby Van’s, which has been serving up delectable dishes for half a century, has come a long way since opening their first location in Bridgehampton. Restauranteur Ricky Passarelli, who purchased the Bridgehampton spot from Bobby Van, brought the steakhouse to Park Avenue over two decades ago and hasn’t looked back since!
The partners, who each play a key part in ensuring their customers receive the best that Bobby Van’s has to offer, all have ties to some of the most illustrious and famed steakhouses in New York. Let’s just say these guys know their steakhouse stuff! Their customers, who are more like family, know they are going to be treated as such – some of their regular clientele even have their own caricatures prominently placed on the wall.
With prime cuts served in a prime New York City location, Bobby Van’s “The Original” is unlike any other steakhouse. Their dry aging process of USDA prime quality beef, as well as their humidity-controlled room where their carefully-selected steaks are aged for up to 28 days, is what sets their steaks apart. This Helmsley Building steakhouse hot spot also uses a local seafood supplier with a fleet of 30 fishing boats to ensure you always have plenty of palatable plates to choose from. “If you want to serve the best, you have to source and buy the best,” said Chef Nile Medford.
Patrick Brennan, who worked with Ricky at Smith and Wollensky’s in the early 80s, is proud to be working with the steakhouse superstar once again, especially now that the two have a bit more experience under their belts.
“The number of steakhouses in the city floats up and down, and it’s a tough sphere to compete in. 230 Park is a unique restaurant, and it’s always been on my radar. I thought opening Lea Wine Bar was a great way for them to expand into something more fun. You can’t beat the location, and I love the way Ricky is going with this spot. This Bobby Van’s is a beacon on a hill and has always stood out in the growing number of steakhouses. They use the best purveyors of meat, and before working here, I was a guest here, and it’s always been really good.”
With friendly service and high-quality steak and seafood, when you come to Bobby Van’s or Lea Wine Bar on 230 Park, you’ll always find something to cheers to!
Groomer: Angela Caroll for Angelo David Salon | Gamma+ Italia | The Flex Brush