The End of the Quest for Authentic Italian Food: Arthur Avenue

USA, New York
Arthur Avenue, AKA "Little Italy" in The BronxA few Saturdays ago, Francesca and I finally went to check out a place that had been on our minds for a while: famed Arthur Avenue in the Bronx, NY.

Arthur Avenue is first and foremost an Avenue in the Belmont section of the Bronx (near the Bronx Zoo and the New York Botanical Garden) that was named after President Chester A. Arthur (the 21st President of the United States) in the XIX century.

Around that time, many Italian immigrants settled in the Belmont area and started forming a growing community that endured mostly unchanged to this day. This earned Arthur Avenue the nickname of “the real Little Italy of New York“.

On the Avenue itself as well as on the blocks immediately adjacent to it thrives a host of stores, delis and restaurants all selling scores of authentic Italian food, produce and dishes – everything from great meats and sausages, fresh fish and seafood, delicious cheese (including the best imported mozzarella I have had in the States so far), freshly baked bread, focaccia, biscotti and sweet treats, all kinds of pasta, mouthwatering pizza, you name it…

USA, New York
 Arthur Avenue, AKA "Little Italy" in The BronxUSA, New York 
Arthur Avenue, AKA "Little Italy" in The Bronx

The whole experience is really unique, as many of the store owners or employees still speak Italian and take pride in establishing some kind of personal relationship with their customers. It brings back memories of what happens in the stores of most Italian small towns.

Beside the actual stores that line Arthur Avenue and its cross Streets, the area is also home to the Arthur Avenue Retail Market, an indoor market that was opened in 1940 by New York Mayor Fiorello H. La Guardia and that hosts stalls and counters of various butchers, bakers, produce vendors, cheese and cured meat sellers, a souvenir T-shirt store and so on.

The market is also home to an amazing cigar place with a couple of employees who hand roll them right in front of you so you can watch the entire process, from tobacco leaf to the finished product: trust me, even if you are like me and don’t smoke, it is something that is definitely worth watching!

USA, New York
 Arthur Avenue, AKA "Little Italy" in The BronxAnd last but not least, a small beer joint has recently opened inside the Arthur Avenue Retail Market: it is called The Bronx Beer Hall and, in a sign-of-the-time melting pot spirit, it is run by two brothers of Puerto Rican heritage who serve beer made by microbreweries from the Bronx and elsewhere in New York State.

USA, New York
 Arthur Avenue, AKA "Little Italy" in The BronxUSA, New York
Arthur Avenue, AKA "Little Italy" in The BronxDespite the strong Italian roots of the place, Arthur Avenue shows a few signs of a growing multi-ethnic footprint, as shown by murals and the mere observation of the ethnic mix of the residents.

So, if you live in or near The Big Apple or if you happen to visit and you enjoy authentic Italian food in a characteristic environment, consider stopping by Arthur Avenue and doing some food shopping or dining there!

Below you can find a few additional images from our outing in the Bronx.

PS: Happy Memorial Day, everyone! 🙂

USA, New York
Arthur Avenue, AKA "Little Italy" in The Bronx

USA, New York
Arthur Avenue, AKA "Little Italy" in The Bronx

USA, New York
Arthur Avenue, AKA "Little Italy" in The Bronx

USA, New York
 Arthur Avenue, AKA "Little Italy" in The Bronx

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About Stefano

I am a photographer and an ISA certified sommelier. I contribute to two blogs, Flora's Table (the fine cooking and wine blog - www.florastable.com) and Clicks & Corks (my photography and wine blog - www.clicksandcorks.com). My photography Web site is at www.LightQuill.com
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21 Responses to The End of the Quest for Authentic Italian Food: Arthur Avenue

  1. It’s been a long time since I have been to Arthur Ave and this reminds me that I need to go back there. Great post and photo’s. Happy Memorial Day.

  2. Stefano, I hope that Arthur’s Avenue is a doable journey from your home as it sounds like the real Italian deal. Your images convey the area’s vibrancy and I wish I could go there my self to explore the shops and the market.

    Happy Memorial Day.

    😉

    • Stefano says:

      Thank you, B! The place is sure special: if you make it this side of the pond you should consider stopping by as I think you would enjoy the feel. And no, it is not a long drive from where we are – say an hour away, so definitely doable! 🙂 I hope you had a pleasant holiday yourself.

  3. Definitely, next time we are in The Big Apple, we will check out Arthur’s Avenue. Great post and photo’s. Happy Memorial Day, Stefano and Francesca.

    • Stefano says:

      Thank you, Fae! Glad you enjoyed the “virtual visit”! 🙂 A place that is definitely worth checking out, if you ask me. I hope you had a nice holiday too!

  4. This looks like a wonderful and vibrant market. I’m glad that you and Francesca were able to enjoy it! From the sounds of it, you may find yourself back there in the future 🙂 I too had a lovely market experience this past weekend at a lovely indoor/outdoor Vietnamese market in Minnesota.

    • Stefano says:

      Thank you, Heather: markets (especially food markets) generally have a pleasant feel and even just spending some time leisurely talking to the various vendors and listening to some of their stories can be a rewarding experience in itself.

  5. I love the photos! Especially of the frowning guy in front of the sausages. When I get to New York, I’m definitely going to check out Arthur Ave.

    • Stefano says:

      Thank you, Tracy! That guy was funny, I tell you! 🙂 When he saw me photographing, he came straight at me and demanded to be photographed in his favorite butcher’s store while he was picking up his meat! I was delighted to do as he requested as he had such an interesting face – lots of character. And yes, if you can make time for a visit at Arthur Avenue, I think you will have a good time.

  6. Dina says:

    What a lovely post, thanks for taking me to Arthur Avenue. Looks like a great place to wine, dine and get goodies for home! 🙂
    L♥ve
    Dina

    • Stefano says:

      Thank you, dear Dina! It sure is a special place – I am pretty sure you would have a good time there if you happened to visit!
      Big hugs!
      Stefano

      • Dina says:

        It’s on my bucket list! Pssss… don’t tell anyone; I have never been to New York… please Keep it to yourself, ok. 😉

      • Stefano says:

        We definitely need to rectify this, Dina! 🙂 So you can also stop by nearby Connecticut and we can finally meet in person!

  7. Love the photos!! I’ve only been to New York once, it’s such an energetic vibrant place! 😀

  8. What a scowl on that guys face 🙂 Awesome pictures!

  9. Fig & Quince says:

    I’ve never been but vaguely recall my sis and brother-in-law mentioning visiting and raving about some of their finds/purchases. What a lovely tour – now I really WANT to go. Like … subito! Q: is there a cafe / restaurant you’d recommend for good/casual fare while there? (ps this reminds me I also want to do a proper renewing-aquaintance-tour of Red Hook – you guys should give that neighborhood a try as well if you haven’t already.)

    • Stefano says:

      Thank you for your comment!
      For a quick but yummy bite I would recommend Tino’s Deli on Arthur Avenue and 187th St: they make a wood oven pizza that is to die for!
      Thanks also for the tip re Red Hook: we have never been and we will have to look into it.

  10. Fig & Quince says:

    Awesome – making a note of it. And here’s a link to NY Times “Eating and Drinking in Red Hook” that I think could serve as the perfect road map for your venture: http://www.nytimes.com/2013/03/27/dining/eating-and-drinking-red-hook-brooklyn.html?hp&_r=0 It’s such an interesting part of Brooklyn. It’ll be fun to read a post about it from your POV once you explore it

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