SURE, BULLETS were flying in the barroom at Dante & Luigi's on Halloween night in 1989, when a masked man pulled a gun out of his trick-or-treat bag and starting pumping round after round into Nicodemo Scarfo Jr., son of the former Philadelphia mob boss.
Before that, the Italian restaurant at 10th and Catharine streets was a hangout for Angelo Bruno, the mob boss who was killed outside his Snyder Avenue home in 1980 by a hitman with a shotgun.
You'll still see a wiseguy having dinner there from time to time. Phil Narducci, a reputed mob soldier during Scarfo's reign, is said to have stopped in about a week ago.
"I do still have people that are 'connected' come in here. I don't make a fuss about it," said owner Michael LaRussa, brother of the late mob associate Salvatore "Sam the Barber" LaRussa.
Plenty of restaurants have embraced their Philly Mafia roots, including Bomb Bomb's, near 10th and Wolf, named after a pair of mob-related bombings in the 1930s, and the Kitchen Consigliere Cafe. in Collingswood, N.J., run by former mob associate Angelo Lutz.
In Florida, super-tanned celebrity chef Steve Martorano, the "Godfather of Italian-American cooking" and nephew of the late Philly mobster Raymond "Long John" Martorano, plays clips from gangster movies at his Café Martorano, in Fort Lauderdale.
LaRussa doesn't worry about the mob image driving customers away. He points to a menu on the wall. It's autographed by Vice President Joe Biden.
"He used to have a house account," LaRussa said.