In the rubble: a secret tunnel, forgotten restaurants, mob memories

The last time I dined at one of my favorite Vietnamese restaurants in the city, Pho 97, I noticed that a few storefronts to the east, the original entrance to the long-shuttered Vista Theater — a 1932 movie house at 26th and Independence Avenue — was slightly ajar. Peeking in, I could see the original concession stand. The candy cases, like the theater, had been long empty. After a massive fire on May 12, there’s nothing left of the old movie theater or the storefront that had been occupied, in the 1960s and ’70s, by the notorious Villa Capri restaurant.

No, not the 50-year-old Villa Capri still owned by Tony Scudiero at 8126 Metcalf, but the East Side venue next to the Vista Theater, where Cork Civella and Carl DeLuna were secretly recorded by FBI agents on June 2, 1978, discussing “the Genius.” This meeting later inspired a subplot  in the Martin Scorsese film, Casino.

Categories: Dining, Food & Drink