A plaque remaining from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem.

Above, a 1934 plaque from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem. Discarded as trash in 2006. Now a Popeyes fast food restaurant on Google Maps.

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Entry from April 17, 2005
Utica: Chicken Riggies
"Chicken riggies" (or "riggies") are "chicken rigatoni." In 2005, Utica held its first-ever "Riggiefest."

Other Utica foods include half-moon cookies and jelly buns,

Wikipedia: Chicken riggies
Chicken riggies or Utica riggies is an Italian-American pasta dish native to the Utica-Rome area of New York State. It is a pasta-based dish usually consisting of chicken, rigatoni and hot or sweet peppers in a spicy cream and tomato sauce, although many variations exist.

The origins of the dish have been disputed and lost in time. Many of the chefs from the Utica area seem to have a claim to the dish, yet there seems to be no clear idea who was the originator.

In one version of the origin, Bobby Hazelton came up with chicken riggies when he and Richie Scamardo owned the Clinton House restaurant in the strip mall in Clinton. In another version, a chef from Dominique’s Chesterfield Restaurant in Utica invented riggies in the 1980s.

The first annual Riggiefest was held in Utica, NY, in 2005 at the Utica Memorial Auditorium. It is a contest which determines what restaurant makes the best riggies in the area.

(Oxford English Dictionary)
rigatoni, n. pl.
[It., f. rigato pa. pple. of rigare to draw a line, to make fluting.]
Short hollow tubes of pasta in fluted form; a dish of this pasta.
1930 H. BURKE Cookery Bk. 100 'Rigattoni' is the Italian name for a special kind of macaroni which comes in short thick tubes.

16 December 1894, Boston Daily Globe, "Ton of Macaroni a Day: 500 Miles of Italian Food Made in the Hub," pg. 31:
To begin with, macaroni is divided into 13 classes. Each of these is the product of the same batch of flour and the same kneading, but vary in size, shape and general appearance. Among Italian gourmets they are known as Menzani, Forati, Frenetti, Trenetini, Foralini, spaghetti, spaghettin, rigatoni, seme di melloni, rosa marina, stellini, tubetini and acine di fippi.

These are all contained in the generic term "macaroni."

Old Fulton NY Post Cards
24 February 1993, Boonville (NY) Herald, pg. 6, col. 2 ad:
Chicken Riggies
(Casa dei Pino in Rome, NY. -- ed.)

3 March 1997, Syracuse (NY) Herald-Journal, "Cookbook is big on old-fashioned 'comfort' foods," pg. B3, col. 3:
This (experience -- ed.) is how O'Hara invented and perfected many of the dishes, such as her favorite. Chicken Riggies. in her book.

May 21, 2005 Utica's Riggiefest
Utica, New York Chicken Riggies are a staple of the Utica community and will be available for tasting from several local eateries the first annual "Utica's Riggiefest." 'Chicken Riggies' are a way of preparing rigatoni in a creamy marinara sauce with chicken and spices. The term "riggie" has caught on in the Central New York area and many local restaurants serve this very popular and delicious dish.

(Utica Observer-Dispatch)
Make Utica riggies known nationwide
Congratulations to the YWCA on its enormously successful Utica Riggies Festival. Huge crowds attended to sample the area's most famous and popular dish. The variety of recipes presented by each of the 15 restaurants in attendance made it a fun and surprise- filled afternoon.

There is no reason "Utica riggies" can't take its place in the national jargon along with Buffalo wings, Carolina barbecue, Omaha steaks, San Francisco sourdough, New York pizza and the rest.

All we and our local restaurateurs have to do is to call them Utica Riggies on the menu and use the name when we order them. Our restaurants and our special ways of cooking are a source of pride around here, and it wouldn't hurt to
let visitors know how we feel.

It might not produce jobs and growth in the short term, but it will get people thinking about us in a positive way. It costs us nothing to be proud of our valley!

(Newsbank; Utica Observer-Dispatch)
Sample the best at Riggiefest_
May 19, 2005 •• 234 words •• ID: uti2005051911191361
By SHAWN ANDERSON Observer-Dispatch .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) UTICA - The
inaugural Utica Riggiefest takes place this weekend. For $5, residents can sample one of Utica's most famous dishes - chicken with rigatoni pasta in sauce as prepared by 14 restaurants, and vote for their favorite. The top
vote-getter walks away with the Riggie Cup. Dave Gibson, a financial consultant at Smith Barney, said he founded the Riggiefest so people would take pride in Central New York. (http://nl.newsbank.com/nojavascript.html)

(Newsbank; Utica Observer-Dispatch)
City sinks its teeth into Riggiefest
January 14, 2005 •• 450 words •• ID: uti2005011410021332
By SHAWN ANDERSON Observer-Dispatch UTICA - Mark Rende starts with imported rigatoni pasta. The chicken breast is charbroiled. He adds white wine, basil and garlic to the mix - and he's just getting started. "You got mushrooms, peppers, onions, black olives," he said. The ingredients come together to make
chicken riggies, the most popular dish at Mr. McGill's, the Schuyler eatery owned by Rende. He claims to offer some of the best chicken riggies in the Mohawk (http://nl.newsbank.com/nojavascript.html)

(Google Groups)
Andy Karam Jan 29 1994, 7:02 am
Newsgroups: rec.food.cooking
From: .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) (Andy Karam)
Date: Thu, 27 Jan 1994 18:37:16 GMT
Local: Thurs,Jan 27 1994 1:37 pm

Does anyone have a recipe for chicken riggies, chicken fry-diablo, or vodka riggies? I have tried these dishes at Marios Resturant in Boca Raton. They were excellent. I cant seem to find 'decent' recipes anywhere.

(Google Groups)
_Can Someone Explain Today's Pearls Before Swine_
... for Utica, I've been there once or twice, but never long enough to learn anything about the local cuisine. I recently read an article about "chicken riggies,"
(http://groups-beta.google.com/group/rec.arts.comics.strips?hl=en) - Feb 1, 12:19 am by Mark Jackson - 26 messages - 14 authors

(Google Groups)
_Up State NY breakfast_
... Googling: East Utica greens, the first hit was:
http://themezz.com/cgi-local ... (and "hats" :>) Hats were in decline, displaced by "chicken riggies", but are ...
(http://groups-beta.google.com/group/rec.food.cooking?hl=en) - Jan 8, 12:42 am by Dave S

(Google Groups)
_OT::: Where's Curly Sue?_
... I visited my family around Christmas, enjoying the chaos and the food of my people-Utica greens, pastaciotti, tomato pie, chicken riggies, etc. ...
_rec.food.cooking_ - Jan 3 2004, 2:34 pm by Curly Sue

(Google Groups)
_How to Make Sfogliatelle?_
Visiting my hometown (Utica, New York) over the past weekend, I ate so much fantastic Italian soul food (chicken riggies, greens, pastries, etc.) I fell in ...
_rec.food.cooking_ - Oct 29 2002, 8:20 am by Finocchio568
(Google Groups)
_hometown surprises_
... recent" (ie, invented after I left) creations including Greens Morelli and chicken riggies. ... half moons are still the best in the universe and Utica is the
only ...
_rec.food.cooking_ - Jul 3 2001, 5:30 pm by Donna Pattee

(Google Groups)
_Spiedies by Mail_
hate to say this..but speedies are a Binghamton original....wings are from buffalo....
And Utica has fried ravioli (YUM!), greens moreale and chicken riggies. ...
_alt.culture.ny-upstate_ - Jul 21 1997, 5:33 pm by JDeanGEO - 9 messages - 8 authors

RECIPE: Chicken Riggies - local favoritePosted by _Debbie814_ on Mon, Nov 29, 04 at 20:09
Here's a local favorite. Chicken Riggies, they're on just about every Italian restaurant menu in my hometown Utica, NY. It's a quick, easy meal.
Chicken Riggies
1 stick butter, melted
1 onion minced
3 cloves garlic, minced
20 oz. jar of sweet peppers (sliced with seeds removed)
3 sliced hot cherry peppers (packed in jar with oil)
Saute above ingredients.
1 cup parmigiano cheese
2 lbs. boneless chicken breast, cubed
1 can chicken broth
1 can tomato sauce (15 oz)
Cook for 1 hour. Pour over 1 1/2 boxes of cooked Rigatoni pasta. Serve with
fresh Italian bread.

Posted - 01/14/2005 : 12:22:07
Ok. This article showed up in the news today but doesn't actually say what the dish is (other than chicken and rigatoni). Can someone in upstate NY please explain exactly what a chicken riggie is and how it is prepared.

Utica builds festival around popular chicken 'riggie' dish

UTICA, N.Y. Buffalo has chicken wings, Baltimore has crab cakes and Philadelphia has its cheese steaks.

What does Utica, New York, have to offer in the way of regional cuisine?

Chicken riggies.

The dish combines chicken with rigatoni pasta and other ingredients. It's a popular item in Utica, where many local chefs claim to make the best riggies.

In the spring, they'll be able to put their recipes to the test when Utica hosts its first Riggiefest.

The fund-raising event in May will let the public sample the offerings and determine which restaurant serves the best chicken riggies.

Founder Dave Gibson says it's another way for people to take pride in central New York.


Posted - 01/14/2005 : 14:37:58
Here is a recipe that I found. (I have eaten in Italian restaurants in Utica, NY and never noticed it on the menu.)


4 tablespoons olive oil
1/4 cup butter
5 cloves garlic, minced
10 tablespoons minced shallot
2 pounds skinless, boneless chicken breast meat - cubed
salt and pepper to taste
1 (4 ounce) jar sweet red peppers, drained and julienned
1/2 cup fresh tomato sauce
1/4 cup dry sherry
1 pint heavy cream
1 (8 ounce) package uncooked rigatoni pasta

In a large saucepan, heat oil and melt butter over medium heat. Add garlic and shallots and saute until soft, then add chicken, season with salt and pepper to taste and saute for 8 to 10 minutes, or until halfway cooked. Add peppers and stir in tomato sauce, reduce heat to low and simmer about 10 minutes. Add sherry and simmer for another 10 minutes, then stir in cream
and simmer for 10 minutes more. Toss all with hot, cooked pasta and serve.


Posted - 01/14/2005 : 14:42:39
Sounds pretty good. Thanks Chezkatie

_Michael Hoffman_

Posted - 01/14/2005 : 15:06:05
Heck, that's Rigatoni con il pollo. And they call it Chicken Riggies?

Big Frog 104 (Marcy, NY)
Foods People Miss When They Leave Utica
By Polly January 12, 2016 5:50 AM
1 Chicken Riggies
Utica Riggies are made with chicken, rigatoni and hot or sweet peppers in a spicy cream and tomato sauce. Other variations include mushrooms, onions or black olives.

101.5 WPDH (Poughkeepsie, NY)
Little-Known Regional Dish is New York State’s Best Kept Secret
Published: August 22, 2023
We interviewed several Utica-area chefs to get to the bottom of the dish's creation, including the late great chef Michael Geno, the late great chef Joe Morelle (who created the Utica Greens dish which is equally famous), Charlie Digristina of It's a Utica Thing!, Jeff Daniels of Daniele's at Valley View and others. While there are differing versions of the story, most agree the dish originated just a few miles from Utica in a kitchen at a restaurant in Clinton. "The dish was created at the Clinton House in Clinton," said Geno. The Clinton House was an Italian favorite back in the 70s and 80s owned by chefs Richie Scamardo and Bobby Hazleton. "I know where it came from, because I was there," Geno said.“This was about 1979. The doctors, lawyers and union guys would come in on Monday nights to play cards and we would make them the ‘riggie dish’ with chicken, tomatoes and cherry peppers. When they came back the next week, they wanted the same thing we made them the week before. And there you have it - the birth of Chicken Riggies,” he said.
Posted by Barry Popik
Nicknames of Other PlacesNew York State • Sunday, April 17, 2005 • Permalink

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