Yes, The Famous Rao's Restaurant Uses The Eponymous Sauce

Rao's opened in 1896 in the East Harlem neighborhood of New York City. It's still there, nearly 130 years later, on the same street corner, with seating for just 60 — it's one of the most difficult places in the city to book a table; you have to know someone who knows someone to get in. The restaurant is now owned by fourth-generation family member Frank Pellegrino, Jr.

You might be more familiar, though, with the restaurant's eponymous jarred sauces. Rao's marinara is consistently ranked first on store-bought marinara sauce lists and is even favored by Ina Garten and other celebrity foodies. The restaurant began jarring and selling its signature sauce in 1991, using a recipe developed by Pellegrino's great-grandmother, his father Frank, and his aunt Anna. However, the chefs in Rao's three restaurant locations don't have a pallet of jars sitting in a corner of the kitchen to speed up food prep. Instead, the chefs always take the time to create the sauce fresh, using the same recipe that goes in the jars. Of course, some days there might be less or more of some ingredients, like salt or oregano, but rest assured, it's the same sauce.

Family recipes are the secret to Rao's tasty success

Like the marinara sauce, most of the recipes used by the restaurant were passed down through generations and on to the head chefs who helm the kitchens. The lemon chicken, the meatballs, and the seafood salad served at the restaurant — and yes, all the items you see at the grocery store — are all recipes from the Rao and Pellegrino families. According to its website, Rao's slow-cooks its sauces and doesn't add anything you can't pronounce, so they're well worth the spendy price point – around $6 for the marinara sauce, and $9 for the tomato basil.

If you want to land a table at Rao's, but you don't know someone who knows someone to get you into the NYC location, not to worry – there are locations in Hollywood, California, and at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas that seat up to 100 and 350 diners, respectively, so you should have better luck. Or you can pick up a jar of Rao's sauce, put on some Frank Sinatra, and have yourself a nice night in.