Like a lost episode of The Sopranos, Steve Schirripa, aka Bobby “Bacala” Baccalieri, is waiting for me in Little Italy restaurant Il Cortile on Mulberry Street.
Given his celebrity status and the fact that he lived above the establishment for two years, he has the so-called Renaissance Room all to himself, and the waiters are giving him the royal treatment. (There’s even a plaque commemorating him on the façade of the building.) While munching on a sesame breadstick from an overflowing bread basket, he explains this is where he would bring people after they were whacked on the show for a final meal. “A good sendoff everybody got,” he says. In fact, these dinners got so popular with the cast sometimes they’d have 15 people, including Edie Falco, and then the press caught wind of the practice, which put a stop to it.
I start to shift nervously in my seat. Steve, do you have something to tell me? “Yeah. You’re dead. You’re next,” he says with a laugh.