I had a friend who loved the food in New York City so much that he would fly there from California and bring back food in a cooler. One of the stops he would make was the Arthur Avenue bakeries, Italian Restaurants, and markets. Arthur Avenue in the Bronx is New York’s other Little Italy. I had a chance to visit it on a food tour on Arthur Avenue with Urban Adventures.
I met up with Debbie, Lindsey, Larry from Norfolk and with our tour guide Gracie at the Arthur Avenue Retail Market.
Table of contents: ()
- Arthur Avenue Retail Market
- Pastry Shops
When you see ladies in the Retail Market rolling cigars you should know that this is quite a tradition in this area of the Bronx. The land in the area used to be part of the Belmont estate for the Lorillard family who moved their tobacco production from lower Manhattan up to what was then farmland in the area in the early 1800s.
The Lorillard mansion was made into a hospital after the Civil War which is now St. Barnabas Hospital. The stone wall around the hospital is all that remains of the mansion. New York Botanical Garden and the Bronx Zoo are also built on part of the old Lorillard land. The only other thing that remains of the family is the name of the neighborhood (Belmont) and an avenue named by the favorite president of the family’s matriarch Catherine Lorillard Wolfe: Chester A. Arthur.
Arthur Avenue Retail Market
Arthur Avenue Retail Market was opened in 1940 by Mayor LaGuardia as a way to clear Arthur Avenue of pushcarts. You can still find shops like Peter’s Meat Market and Mike’s Deli. Mike’s Deli won the eggplant parmigiana challenge on Food Network’s Ultimate Cooking Challenge.
We stopped by Madonia bakery to sample their olive bread. The shop is filled with breads and a large variety of biscotti as well as many different kinds of cookies. They serve cannolis also but you will have to wait for them to be filled. You would not want them to get mushy by being pre-filled.
Addeo and Son’s Bakery
We stopped by Addeo and Son’s Bakery to taste some of their fresh-baked white bread and also tried their olive bread. While they do bake some cookies, they focus on breads.
Cafe Egidio Pastry Shop
Cafe Egidio is a pastry shop that has been around since 1912. Someone presented them with an old bill they found among their grandmother’s effects of the wedding cake she bought from Egidio’s in 1940 for $12.50 but their prices have gone up a bit since then.
We tried their Piñioli cookies with pine nuts and rainbow cookies. Both of these are made with marzipan and both worth a taste.
Joe’s Pastry Shop
Joe’s Pastry Shop has far more than pastries. It is a deli, pastry shop, Italian grocery, and catering shop all in one. We tried the fresh Mozzarella cheese that they make. Gracie claimed that it was much better than you could find in the Little Italy in Manhattan but I also recall liking the cheese from Alleva Dairy which is the oldest Italian cheese shop in America. I visited that on a food tour of Little Italy.
Gino’s Pastry Shop
We tried to stop at Gino’s Pastry Shop for a cannoli but they were closed when we stopped by. If you see the stage version of “A Bronx Tale” you will see the sign for Gino’s Pastry Shop is part of the set.
Morrone Pastry Shop
We stopped instead at Morrone Pastry Shop for cannoli. They were pre-filled with surprised me a bit, but I did enjoy them. Sometimes Gracie says they are lucky enough to get invited back to see the cannoli being made but we had no such luck on this day.
If you love cheese then you will love Calandra’s Cheese shop. They make ricotta and fresh mozzarella daily, but their most popular cheese, Prima, is a combination of Parmesan and Gouda. It was good, but I loved some of the hard cheeses they have in the shop.
Cerini Coffee & Gifts
We mostly stopped by Cerini Coffee & Gifts shop to pet the cat in the window, but if you are looking for Italian coffeemakers, supplies, snacks, and ceramic gifts, then this is the shop for you.
Calabria’s Pork Store
Calabria’s Pork Store has a ceiling that is covered with pork sausages or a pork chandelier as Gracie called it.
We sampled the sweet Sopresatta sausage which is an Italian dry salami. It’s quite good.
Vincent’s Meat Market
Vincent’s Meat Market was featured in the film Marty. It was where Marty, played by Ernest Borgnine, worked as a butcher.
Borgatti’s Ravioli & Egg Noodles
You could hardly do better than getting your pasta at Borgatti’s. For 83 years they have been making fresh pasta for the locals here in the Bronx. From the sign, you can probably guess that their specialties include Ravioli & Egg Noodles.
Teitel Brothers is a great place to buy all sorts of Italian groceries, especially imported gourmet cheeses, olive Oils, tomatoes, and pasta. We tasted some of their cheeses.
The store was started by two Jewish brothers from Austria. When they opened the store in 1915 they were told that they would not sell anything if people knew they were Jewish. They somewhat defiantly put a star of David in the tile work of the entryway.
Cosenza’s Fish Market
If you visit Arthur Avenue on a day this not as incredibly cold as when I was there, you will find employees from Cosenza’s Fish Market shucking fresh oysters at stands in front of the shop. No shuck luck for us.
Tra Di Noi
Gracie says that one of her favorite Italian restaurants in the city is the Tra Di Noi Trattoria. The chef Marco is Italian born and trained and has been cooking for more than 50 years. Tra di Noi is listed in the Michelin Restaurant Guide and Zagats.
Full Moon Pizzeria
We grabbed a slice of pizza at Full Moon Pizzeria (see the first photo in this article). I would call it New York style pizza but my slice didn’t fold which everyone knows is expected in the Big Apple.
Mario’s is a family-owned Neapolitan-Italian restaurant serving red-sauce fare since 1919, but what they are most famous for is who they did not serve. The story goes that Francis Ford Coppola wanted to use the restaurant in the movie the Godfather for the scene where Michael Corleone, played by Al Pacino, killed a rival gang member. The owner Mario Migliucci wanted the restaurant to be known for their food and family-friendly atmosphere instead of being linked to gangsters. Filming instead moved to Louie’s Restaurant, which used to be located on 3531 White Plains Road in the Bronx. But Mario’s is still around and Louie’s has since closed. It should be added that son Joe Migliucci did permit the filming of an episode of The Sopranos at Mario’s.
Whether you explore Arthur Avenue with a food tour from Urban Adventures or on your own, it is a delicious place to spend an afternoon. You won’t go away hungry