You can’t get a reservation at Rao’s, but at least you can buy its new soups

By Melissa Locker

There are a few things that every New Yorker knows to be true: Getting in an empty subway car is a really bad idea, and you’ll never be able to get a reservation at Rao’s, the cultish Italian restaurant where every table has been booked for the last 42 years. Basically, you would have better luck walking up to a stranger and asking if you can come over to their house for dinner.

You can’t get a reservation at Rao’s, but at least you can buy its new soups |

[Photo: courtesy of Rao’s]

Luckily, the 123-year-old restaurant has taken pity on us noncelebrities, non-insiders, and non-New Yorkers by taking its family’s secret-sauce recipes and putting them in bottles and selling them at grocery stores across the country. That means all you need to get that Rao’s experience at home is to string up a few Christmas lights, get your kid to play bouncer, crack open a jar of Rao’s Homemade Marinara, and pretend you’re in Italy via East Harlem.

Of course, if you wanted to make your fake Rao’s meal feel more complete with a starter like, say, a bowl of its zuppa di giorno, you were out of luck—until now.

Rao’s has just announced that it is pulling out the family recipe box to bring its soups to the reservation-less masses. Soon you’ll be able to play pretend with six different soups, including Italian Wedding, Chicken Noodle, Vegetable Minestrone, Pasta & Fagioli, Tomato Basil, and Chicken & Gnocchi. Even better, these soups don’t come in hard-to-recycle TetraPaks or even easy-to-recycle aluminum but instead will stand out in reusable glass jars, classing up the grocery store aisle.

Now you’re one step closer to eating at Rao’s, no bouncer required.


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