Who knew those giant hunks of fried dough dusted with powdered sugar and sold at large outdoor events like the Suffolk County Boat Show had a proper name? They’re called zeppole (pronounced “zep-PO-lee”), and are generally aligned with Italian celebrations in honor of St. Joseph’s Day, which falls on Mar. 19. Saint Joseph, of course, is one of those Bo Jackson saints, claiming various domains to his patronage, including engineers and craftsmen, the New World, peaceful death and even fighting communism.
The Village now has its own haven for zeppole in Led Zeppole, a carnival-themed snack shop that lives up to its classic rock name connection by blasting 1970s arena jams on the sound system. Led Zeppole was opened by the same folks who run addictive 14th Street pizza spot Artichoke; before you even ask, yes, there is Kennedy brother representation adorning the walls of this new joint. Alas, the portrait of a young, smiling Jack Kennedy is overshadowed by Led Zep pole’s ridiculously large prize wheel.
When you order one helping of zeppole ($2.50), consisting of three fried dough pieces, the counter person happily spins the prize wheel (which clicks as loudly as any given prop from The Price Is Right) and asks you to slam your hand on the Cold War-era electronic stopper. If the prize wheel pointer lands on red, guess what? You just won an extra piece of zeppole to stuff your fat face with.
Led Zeppole’s namesake is rather satisfying: crispy on the outside, warm and fluffy on the inside and about three times the size of your standard zeppole. Not only have they Hulked that shit out for you, they’ll even drizzle a little maple syrup on it to make for pure fairground dessert orgasm. Other menu items include delightful cream puffs ($2.50), devilishly delicious deep fried Oreos ($2.50), a fine selection of cannoli ($1.50 for a small, $3.50 for a biggie) and soft serve ice cream ($2.50 in a waffle cone and $3.75 in a cup). Much like Space Mountain, any persons with a heart condition and/or thin blood are advised not to enter Led Zeppole.
Yet even if you are in good health, you’ll likely need to rest your sugar-filled body shortly after ingesting any of LZ’s tasty concoctions, but that’s where they getcha: Led Zeppole is just a counter in a store front. There is not one seat in the place (there’s actually barely any room to stand while you’re waiting for your order). Enjoy stumbling around 14th Street in a glucose haze—the shop stays open until 2 a.m., so you can also do this after dark—wondering how in God’s name you’ll keep your cholesterol down for the rest of the year.
328 E. 14th St. (betw. 1st & 2nd Aves.), 212-228-2807