A Stroll Down Mulberry Street at Napoli’s

By on September 1, 2011

Stroll down Mulberry Street in Manhattan’s Little Italy towards sunset and you’ll see rows of hundred year old russet-brown brick buildings, lots of tiny Italian restaurants, and happy diners seated outside. Inside those restaurants are stamped tin ceilings, tan walls, chintzy paintings and checkered tablecloths. A lot like this.

This is Napoli’s Restaurant in Sand Springs. It’s housed in an old brick building that used to be the trolley station on the Sand Springs line. Betty, who went with us to dinner, remembers waiting for the streetcar there long ago. Napoli’s is only a year old but, like those Mulberry Street hangouts, seems to have been there forever. It serves the same Italian-American dishes too. But unlike most of those Little Italy eateries, Napoli’s serves really good food.

You’ll realize this the minute the bread comes. Massive, dense, warm, fresh and pillowy soft, these rolls are as addictive as the famous ones in Shiloh’s Diner. Be careful not to eat too many, for better things are coming. Such as this:

Shrimp Scallopini ($14). There’s linguini, a rich zesty marinara sauce, and seafood. Lots of seafood. Seafood of surprisingly high quality. Huge, fresh tasty shrimp, lots of little fine-flavored scallops, and some big fresh mussels on the half shell. This was just perfect and I could not stop eating.

My friends were not so lucky. They got chicken cacciatore ($10).

Lots of nice spaghetti, plenty of chicken breast and peppers, but the sauce was basically chicken stock. Oh it was good, but paled compared to my feast. Still, I’ll go back. And there’s plenty to go back for. In addition to classics such as Veal Marsala ($12), Chicken Piccata or Parmigiana, Baked Ziti ($8)and Fettucine Alfredo, there are many unusual dishes some of which are the chef’s creation, such as Chicken (or veal) Damabianka, which features a mushroom brandy cream sauce, Chicken Carciove, which, as its name implies, pairs the chicken with artichokes (in a white wine cream sauce), and Chicken Albanese, which is not Albanian but which has a liquor-fortified tomato cream sauce.

Unlike the chicken, the owner and many of the waiters ARE Albanian. There was always an affinity between Albania and Italy, and some Albanians migrated to southern Italy as early as the 1400s. After the Turks conquered Albania, immigration increased. That is why in New York, many of the most authentic Italian-American restaurants are owned and staffed by Albanians. Many New York Italian restaurants have Mexican chefs, and one of the chefs at Napoli’s too is Mexican. There’s an Albanian saying that applies to today’s culinary world. “Jemi të gjithë një popull” “We are all one people.”

Napoli’s
28 E. Broadway
Sand Springs, OK
(918) 245-1063

In the center of downtown across from the police station and a block from Main Street, just take the Sand Springs Expressway (Highway 51) to the Adams or Wilson exit.

Napoli’s Menu

Napoli's Italian Restaurant on Urbanspoon

Note: There is a Napoli’s in Broken Arrow and is (or was) one in West Tulsa too. They are not related and have different owners but may have been related at some point since their menu is similar to the Sand Springs one. I’m told these other Napoli’s, whether related or not, serve great food too. The menu above is the Broken Arrow menu, but as I said it’s very similar.

Brian Schwartz

About Brian Schwartz

Born in NYC, age 0, on my birthday. College in Oxford at age 16. Law School in New Haven, Conn. 6 years travel in Africa and Asia. Haven’t done much lately. Still, I’m the only Tulsa member of the little-known Omega Society. www.theomegasociety.com I speak enough Chinese to order food not on any English menu. Spanish French Italian too (not fluently but food-ently) My favorite restaurant is Jean-Georges in New York. But those NYC chefs would sell their soul to get the produce available from the farms around Inola. “A writer writes alone. His words tumble forth from a magical inner void that is mysterious even to himself, and that no one else can enter.” And yet, the most important thing to me the writer is YOU. Without you to hear them, my words are worth less than silence.

9 Comments

  1. Kyle

    September 1, 2011 at 1:26 pm

    Try the Lobster Ravioli!! Delicious!

  2. Jim the Foodie Guy

    September 1, 2011 at 2:35 pm

    Hold on there, Mr. Schwartz. That’s not shrimp scallopini. Scallopini is thin slices of meat, usually veal, not seafood. That looks like Napoli’s Seafood Special.

    • Jim the Foodie Guy

      September 1, 2011 at 2:45 pm

      My bad. The Tulsa area Napolis don’t have a Seafood Special. That looks like frutti de mare, not shrimp scallopini.

      • Brian Schwartz

        September 1, 2011 at 7:41 pm

        Well that’s what they named it. I even phoned to confirm before writing the review. Maybe it’s their sense of humor… it does have shrimp and scallops but of course it’s nothing like Veal Scaloppine

  3. foodude

    September 1, 2011 at 8:21 pm

    Every Napolis I’ve been to was insanely awful. people just go eat that bread and ignore the rest I guess. WAY overcooked pasta, no complex flavors. watery sauce even. yuck.

  4. Natasha

    September 2, 2011 at 12:55 am

    Yay! I love Napoli’s at the old trolley station, and it’s even better when I get to go there with my grandmother, who remembers waiting there with *her* grandmother for the train to Tulsa (have I mentioned my family is at least five generations deep in this area? Ha!). We love to get the stromboli. It’s perfect to eat half for dinner and the take the other half home to heat in the oven for lunch the next day. I make sure to pack a few pieces of that table bread, too. Thanks for the write-up, Brian!

  5. Jen

    September 3, 2011 at 12:28 pm

    The lobster ravioli is so delish there. And so it the Italian sausage app with the bread. Yum yum yum. A hidden gem in Sand Springs and hands down way better than the Italian in Prattville.

  6. Pingback: Napoli's Italian Restaurant 61st and Memorial Tulsa | Tulsa Food

  7. Christi

    February 11, 2013 at 2:31 am

    Best Italian food I’ve ever had! Shhh… don’t tell my full blood Italian mother-in-law! Excellent service. Had the lobster ravioli and their knots (bread that accompanies meal) are to die for! Our waiter was an absolute doll, too. If I weren’t a married woman, I would’ve taken him home with me!

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