Throughout his youth in Calabria, Frankie Bastone grew up in a large family that shared hearty meals made with vegetables from their garden. Taking their mother’s recipes, he and his younger brother packed up and moved to America. Frankie and Johnnie saved their money with the dream of opening an Italian restaurant that would serve family-style food like they had enjoyed and cooked back home. In 1969 Frankie and Johnnie opened a storefront restaurant in the Bronx where a saloon once stood. Unable to afford a new sign, the name “The Pine” stuck. As word about Frankie’s cooking continued to spread, The Pine Restaurant was transformed from the Bronx’s “best kept secret,” to the landmark restaurant it is today. The rest, as they say, is history.
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