By Cristiana Caruso and Michelle Gillan Larkin
From pasta and prosciutto di Parma to cannoli and cappuccino — plus a handy primer on how to properly, or colloquially, pronounce it all — here’s everything you need to know for an excursion over the Westchester/Bronx border to the heart of Little Italy’s food-foraging, belly-busting heaven.
Pietro Parrotta, Calabria Pork Store. Photo by Ken Gabrielsen
One of the calling cards of Arthur Avenue that gives it an incandescent charm is the timelessness — the ability to walk the same route our grandparents did to get the morning loaf of bread; to stroll down streets once lined with 1940s Oldsmobiles; and for some of us, to stand in the spot our ancestors decided would make good roots for the pursuit of the American dream. The shopkeepers and restaurant owners have held strong to their place on the avenue, feeding and nurturing generations of residents, as well as visitors who just pop in once a year for the Christmas Eve tray of antipasto.
Arthur Avenue Shopping Map
Walk your way to a DIY at-home Italian feast while following in the well-worn footsteps of countless residents, immigrants, and savvy foodies just like you.
By Arlene So
Cosenza’s Fish Market
2354 Arthur Ave
More than a century strong and so very fresh with every fish in the sea and a stand-up clam bar
Serving clams at Cosenza’s Fish Market. By Ken Gabrielsen.
2372 Arthur Ave
Open for biz in 1915 by Austrian Jewish immigrant brothers, expect imported Italian cheeses, EVOO, tomatoes, pasta, and specialty items galore.
2348 Arthur Ave
104 years and three generations of baking bread (and cookies!)
2352 Arthur Ave; 2372 Hughes Ave
Traditional pane di casa, breadsticks, biscuits, and pizza dough for 90+ years and three generations
Casa Della Mozzarella
604 E 187 St
Cheese, please! So fresh, it’s often still warm and perfecto as a house panini.
Borgatti’s Ravioli & Egg Noodles
632 E 187 St
Two blocks off the avenue, with four gens of fresh-pasta makers (hailing from Bologna), since 1935.
2350 Arthur Ave
All manner of meat (including rarer rabbit, tripe, and sweetbreads) and sausage stalactites; family-run since 1930.
By Ken Gabrielsen
Calabria Pork Store
2338 Arthur Ave
Italian dried meats, plus the eye-popping, breathtaking, sausage chandelier.
Mike’s Arthur Avenue Italian Deli
2344 Arthur Ave
Since 1922, hot and oven-ready Italian dishes, stuffed breads, and house-made burrata to boot!
2410 Arthur Ave
A husband and wife shop for 4+ decades offering house-cooked Italian classics, heroes, brick-oven pizza, and imported goods.
Egidio Pastry Shop
622 E 187 St
A block off Arthur since 1912, cannoli and biscotti (and cappuccino) are a can’t-miss.
Morrone Pastry Shop
2349 Arthur Ave
Traditional rainbow and pignoli-nut cookies and cakes from a Bronx-born culinary school grad.
Legacy Shops and Spots
Full of rich culture and richer foods, these establishments have seen decades of transformation on Arthur Ave and have kept their own traditions alive.
Borgatti’s Ravioli & Egg Noodles
632 E 187th St; borgattis.com
If you haven’t sampled any of Borgatti’s delicious pastas over their 87-year reign, it is recommended that you make a special trip for their lobster ravioli alone. Skilled pasta makers Lindo and Maria Borgatti opened shop in 1935, cobbling together $300 to rent a storefront. With all the money they had on the line, the family — which included the couple’s six sons — worked day and night, cranking out egg noodles. The signature ravioli was born from their son George having created a custom ravioli board, and a booming business allowed for the purchase of an electric pasta machine. Fun fact: The Borgatti’s sign was present on the set of the Broadway musical A Bronx Tale. Chazz Palminteri himself was the one to walk into the store and request the sign.
Calabria Pork Store
Courtesy of Borgatti’s
2338 Arthur Ave; calabriapork.com
Come for the world-famous sausage chandelier (just look up), but spend your paycheck on out-of-this-world dried sausages and fresh cold cuts, which have been feeding patrons for 50 years. As the only remaining salumeria, Calabria’s is keeping alive the age-old tradition of preparing homemade meats and cheeses. Expect all items to have a touch of Southern charm — Southern Italy, that is. Owner Pietro Parrotta is as dedicated to keeping Calabrese history in the background of everything he does as he is to creating a meaningful product. The spicy dry sausage (with fennel seeds, of course), flat sweet soppressata, and Calabrese cheese should be on every shopping list.
2374 Arthur Ave; teitelbros.com
For some, it may seem out of place that a market owned and operated by a Jewish family would have some of the most authentic Italian goods stateside, but you’d be remiss in thinking that Teitel Brothers is any less deserving of the real estate than a business that ends in a vowel. Known for exceptional retail and wholesale prices, the market was opened by brothers Jacob and Morris Teitel, Austrian Jewish immigrants who came to America by way of Ellis Island in 1912. In 1915, they opened Teitel Brothers grocery store, assimilating into the predominantly Italian neighborhood. Next time you’re at the grocer’s threshold, direct your eyes down to the Star of David mosaic tile at the entrance. Jacob had it installed during the Great Depression, as Nazism in Europe began to rise. It stood as a symbol of ancestral pride as well as an homage to family members who were unable to make it out of Europe safely.
Edward Teitel, Teitel Brothers. By Ken Gabrielsen.
2348 Arthur Ave; madoniaarthurave.com
Hailing from Monreale, Sicily, Mario Madonia settled in the neighborhood and established his bread business in 1918. It can be said that his family lives and breathes the business: Peter Madonia Sr. was born in the bakery after a crashed automobile went hurtling into the storefront, where the seven-months-pregnant Rose Madonia was. The shock sent her into early labor, and Peter was placed into a shoebox padded with cotton and set aside the bread ovens as a makeshift incubator. To this day, lovers of carbs flock to the bakery for hand-rolled breads and a wide selection of pastries and biscotti. The olive loaf is their crown jewel and should only be purchased in bundles.
Madonia Bakery on Arthur Avenue. By Ken Gabrielsen.
2342 Arthur Ave; mariosarthurave.com
For an astounding 103 years, Mario’s has been dishing out flavorful Neapolitan fare. Now helmed by fourth-generation owner Joe Migliucci, the restaurant has an illustrious foodie history that began when Migliucci’s great-grandfather and grandfather left Naples for Cairo, establishing a booming restaurant. In 1919, Migliucci’s grandfather relocated to Arthur Ave, opening Mario’s as a pizza counter before going full-service. The menu is fine-tuned with fresh, seeded bread and spiced carrots greeting diners at the table. But don’t fill up, or you’ll miss crisp calamari, pillow-soft gnocchi, and tender lamb chops. If you need extra street cred, the restaurant is named-dropped in the Italian American cultural touchstone The Godfather. Coppola wanted to film a scene inside, but fearing a stigma placed on the restaurant, the Migliucci family passed.
Addeo & Sons Bakery
2352 Arthur Ave; 2372 Hughes Ave addeobakers.com
From the moment the door swings closed behind you, your senses are catapulted into the kitchen of a kindly Italian woman who always wants to know if you’re hungry — because that’s how it all began. Now run by cousins Laurence and Thomas Addeo, the bakery was once their grandmother’s kitchen. Originally established in East Harlem in the 1920s, Addeo made the jump to their present location(s) in 1944. While the coal-fired ovens baked their last loaves in the 1950s, the passing of generations and the inexorable march of technology have not disturbed the bones of the process, which remain intact: Their bread recipe is the same, down to the gram, as it has been since the bakery came to the neighborhood.
Courtesy of Belmont BID
For a sit-down taste of authentic Italy and old-world warmth and hospitality, these are the dining destinations you shouldn’t miss.
Ann & Tony’s
2407 Arthur Ave; annandtonysonline.com
For nearly 100 years and five generations, the Napolitano family have been dishing out homegrown, precision-driven Italian fare to customers they treat like their own. At the helm are brothers (chef) Anthony and Ralph, who proudly carry on the family business started by their Italian immigrant great-grandfather, Eugenio, in 1927. The establishment gets its name from the second generation, Eugenio’s son Tony and his wife, Ann, whose recipes influence the present-day menu and are wholly responsible for the standout signature entrées of chicken or veal with prosciutto, artichoke hearts, mozzarella, olives, and mushrooms in a white wine sauce, and the shrimp that’s dipped in egg batter and sautéed with prosciutto and mushrooms.
Anthony Napolitano, Ann & Tony’s on Arthur Avenue. By Ken Gabrielsen.
2335 Arthur Ave; 718.733.2807
Arguably the most well-known eatery on the avenue, this low-key (in terms of its non-fussy atmosphere, as opposed to the contagious comradery born over a pile of fried calamari or a Yankees no-hitter) den of vinyl-topped tables and oversized, shareable portions opened as a bar in 1962 but has been a reliable go-to simply to eat for right about 50 years. Operated over the decades by descendants and in-laws of its Southern Italian immigrant founder, Dominick’s long-standing lore is alive and well: The menu and bill are delivered via spoken word; it’s cash-only and affordable; and everyone leaves happily stuffed with fresh, authentic Italian standards and plans for the next visit.
2331 Arthur Ave; emiliasrestaurant.com
Enveloped by eateries and markets named after men (and run by them, too), this longtime staple of simple and pleasing red-sauce classics offers a gracious nod to all the mammas and nonnas in the nabe. Purchased 25 years ago from the founding namesake, Nunzio Sapienza now takes a backseat to his daughter, Joanne Lorre, who runs the show with her two grown girls. A family feel permeates the air, and inventive, elevated specials of grilled branzino or stuffed zucchini flowers enliven a menu of reliable lasagna, eggplant parm, and Sicilian meatballs that are dotted, in the traditional manner, with currants and pignoli nuts.
Emilia’s on Arthur Avenue. By Ken Gabrielsen.
2339 Arthur Ave; 718.733.4455
The baby on the block (at just two decades young), this family-run, rustically upscale bistro-style hotspot charms with a marble-topped bar and white-clothed tables set against warm, red-brick walls. But the appeal doesn’t end with the decor. It blossoms in Gino’s brick-oven pizza creations, handcrafted, plate-licking pastas (regularly kissed by heady, imported truffle oil), and the limitless lineup of grilled and sautéed seafood dishes, chops, outstanding steak pizzaiola, and the signature grilled meatballs, which sport a touch of spice.
2311 Arthur Ave; pasqualesrigoletto.com
Known simply yet affectionately as Rigoletto’s, this inviting, bustling gem is unforgettable due to the food and hospitality (natch) but also because of the sprawling, pleasingly hued wall mural depicting heart-melting scenes of daily life taking place right outside the front door. At the table, where white cloth adds a measure of panache to the warm, relaxed surrounds, chef’s specials rule the night and day, though the regular menu is far from run of the mill, with classic and creative chicken, fish, and veal selections, handmade pastas, salads, and alluring antipasto platters. Saturday night’s live music — known to spark spontaneous singing and dancing — adds to the overall experience.
603 Crescent Ave; robertosbronx.com
Just around the bend from the main drag but undoubtedly one of the coolest kids on the block (you can’t miss the coral façade and curious wrought-iron faux balcony), this three-decade-strong perennial fave conjures the feel of both a refined farmhouse and a seaside Mediterranean villa where fresh, country-style Italian cuisine — reminiscent of Chef Roberto Paciullo’s beloved Salerno — fits either motif. Menu offerings are paired with wine selections for ease and added elegance, but those in the know seek out the specials board before making a choice. Generous portions yearn to be poked by all forks at the table, especially one of the mind-bendingly flavorful pasta dishes that are cooked in tinfoil instead of a taste-diluting pot of water.
Arthur Avenue. Photo by Ken Gabrielsen
Our editors chime in on what drives them to trip the county line for quality time in ’da Bronx.
My husband and I started going when we were dating and lived in NYC, but we have continued to take our kids. We love to get fresh pasta and ravioli at Borgatti’s and prosciutto and mozzarella at Casa Della Mozzarella. Then we head over to Zero Otto Nove for brick-oven pizza, so we get something to eat right away. It’s a big hit with everyone in our family.
—Jenn Andrlik, Senior Lifestyle Editor
“Without the slightest desire to be an instigator, I wore a Mets jersey the day I took a trip down the Bronx River Parkway to do some Arthur Ave shopping. It was just the shirt I happened to put on that morning. Well, while standing in line at Mike’s Deli, I failed to respond immediately to the server’s call of ‘Next; can I help you?’ which unleashed a barrage of ‘Mets fan holding up the line’ and ‘Hey, let’s go Mets fan, let’s go! Holding up the line!’ I swear, my sandwich wasn’t quite as plump as usual. Later, I’m in Tino’s Deli, getting another sandwich (hoping for a properly sized one), and the guy says, “You know this is the Bronx, and it’s the Yankees here, right?’ Ugh. Never again. Lesson learned!”
—John Bruno Turiano, Editor
“Gahnol” is a must during a visit to Arthur Avenue. Valerio/ Adobe Stock
While within the continental United States, Arthur Avenue feels like a different world. Here are some terms to know, so you don’t put your foot in your mouth, yaknowhatImean?
May I please have…
How Ya Doin’?:
How’s your family?
Countless iterations, but some of the most common are: “Hi!… I haven’t seen you in forever!”; “What are you doing?!?”; “Get out of the way!”; and “What, do I look like an idiot?” (Use context clues to deduce which.)
Literally means “Go to Naples” but idiomatically means “Go to hell.” If directed at you, it might be time to get out of there.
Related: Make Randazzo’s Seafood Recipes for the Feast of the Seven Fishes
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