Food in the Bronx is reflective of the characteristics that make this borough unique: it’s got one foot rooted in “the old country” and one foot in the new, bridging the gap with a passion for tradition. Many cultures are represented throughout the Bronx, but Arthur Avenue continues to be predominantly Italian American just as it was during the early 20th century when the streets were lined with vendors selling their goods from wooden carts.
Many of the storefronts lining Arthur Avenue are the same as they were when they first opened. And though many of the original owners are no longer operating their stores, their businesses, recipes and traditional methods have been passed down to either family members or hand-picked individuals they’ve entrusted to carry on their legacies.
The Bronx’s Arthur Avenue is another “Little Italy” in New York, but so far, it has been untouched by mainstream tourism. With robust flavors of Italian-American staples like fresh mozzarella, soppressata sausage, red sauce and award-winning cannoli, it’s impossible for it to remain a secret for much longer.
A great way to sample some of the flavors of Arthur Avenue is with Arthur Avenue Food Tours who will not only share with you the best this street has to offer, but will also give you the illustrious history of each stop. Here are just 10 stops on that culinary quest to get you hungry.
Calandra's Cheese — Photo courtesy of Kae Lani Kennedy
Locals simply call this place “the ricotta shop” because even though Diego, the new owner, and his team make homemade mozzarella, it's the ricotta that everyone knows Calandra’s Cheese for.
When it comes to cheese, these guys are a wealth of knowledge. For whatever cheese they don’t make in house, like the Prima Donna or the Moliterno infused with black truffles, Diego sources selectively and directly from Italian cheesemakers.
Calabria Pork Store
Calabria Pork Store — Photo courtesy of Kae Lani Kennedy
It’s hard to miss the “sausage chandelier” as soon as you walk into Calabria Pork Store. The ceiling is almost completely covered with freshly cured Southern Italian style sausage patiently being aged to perfection. Here you can sample sausage that is either sweet or hot, just like it’s made in Calabria, Italy.
Arthur Avenue Fiasco
Arthur Avenue Fiasco — Photo courtesy of Bronx Little Italy
Arthur Avenue Fiasco may be a new restaurant, but with a menu that is a tribute to Italian-American cuisine, it deserves a visit. Fresh pasta – made in-house – swimming in simple red sauce paired with a robust red wine is a melody of flavor that feels like a throwback to the old country.
Bronx Beer Hall
Bronx Beer Hall — Photo courtesy of Kae Lani Kennedy
Inside of the Arthur Avenue Market alongside the produce stand and the butcher is the Bronx Beer Hall, serving up a rotating list of local beers from nearby breweries like Captain Lawrence and Yonkers Brewing. It’s the Bronx’s first craft beer bar and the neighborhood is accepting it with open arms – especially the students at Fordham!
Madonia Brothers Bakery
Madonia Brothers Bakery — Photo courtesy of Kae Lani Kennedy
Racks upon racks of warm bread line the walls of Madonia Brothers Bakery, whose variety of savory breads, like the provolone loaf or the olive breads, are what many locals come for. If you visit on a Friday or Saturday, be sure to try the white chocolate bread and/or the dark chocolate and cherry – they’re warm, gooey and a sweet treat.
Cosenza’s Fish Market
Cosenza's Fish Market — Photo courtesy of Kae Lani Kennedy
Lining the sidewalk outside of Cosenza’s Fish Market are carts of fresh oysters and clams still on ice. It’s a kind of raw bar where you can walk up and have your order filled by a fishmonger. If you like, you can even sample fresh oysters the moment after they’re shucked!
Egidio Pastry Shop
Egidio Pastry Shop — Photo courtesy of Kae Lani Kennedy
When Carmela Lucciola took over Egidio Pastry Shop in 1987, she not only embraced Arthur Avenue’s oldest pastry shop, but she also became owner of many of the shop’s original recipes as well as century-old baking tools that were left behind and still used today.
Within the shop’s display case, which stretches nearly the entire length of the cafe, are fresh Italian pastries, all baked in-house. Everything from biscotti to zeppole. If you’re overwhelmed by how much there is to choose from, go for the cannoli – they’re award-winning.
Addeo Bakers — Photo courtesy of Kae Lani Kennedy
For over 80 years, the Addeo family has been baking traditional Italian breads and biscuits under the motto “our family proudly serves your family.” Even though they have two locations, carb-hungry visitors should come early, especially for the cheegola bread – a lard bread spiced with black pepper.
Mount Carmel Gourmet Foods
Mount Carmel Gourmet Foods — Photo courtesy of Bronx Little Italy
Another establishment located in the Arthur Avenue Market, Mount Carmel Foods is a great place to learn about the variety of high quality pastas, imported ingredients and cookies.
Borgatti’s Ravioli & Egg Noodles
Borgatti's Ravioli & Egg Noodles — Photo courtesy of Borgatti's Ravioli & Egg Noodles
Since 1935, the Borgatti family has been turning out sheets of fresh pasta in the traditional way, even using old-fashioned machines that were first used by Mario Borgatti who founded the business. Even though they offer pasta in a wide range of styles and widths (even squid ink fettuccine is available), it’s the ravioli that locals and visitors love.