Take a Tour: Arthur Avenue

Tours & Attractions

by Alyssa Grossman, 09/17/2014

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In a city that thrives on the fast-paced and modern, one venerable neighborhood still does things the old-fashioned way—with family-owned shops, local pride and a gregarious personality that keeps people flocking back. Denizens of the Bronx's famed Arthur Avenue proudly call their home "the real Little Italy," thanks to its classic Italian charm and fresh, authentic fare.

Located in the Belmont section of the Bronx, Arthur Avenue was named after President Chester A. Arthur in the 19th century. Italians first settled here to help build the Bronx Zoo, and after the creation of the Third Avenue elevated train, which ran between the Bronx and downtown Manhattan, their presence in the neighborhood increased, with the population reaching close to 100,000 Italian residents by the early 1900s.

Today, festive red, white and green garland hangs from street poles year-round. Inside the stores that line Arthur Avenue and East 187th Street, colorful pastries, cured meats and fresh fish are rivaled in appeal only by the characters behind the counter.

Casa Della Mozzarella 
604 E. 187th St., 718-364-3867

Casa Della Mozzarella
Casa Della Mozzarella

Past the displays of olives and mounds of fresh cheese at Casa Della Mozzarella stands Orazio Carciotto, who doesn't believe in sitting down for a break. He can often be found leaning over a boiling pot of water and cheese curds, preparing the product for which the shop is named. The Italian-born Carciotto says Arthur Avenue is the perfect taste of home. "When I visit my parents in Sicily," he says, "I can't wait to come back here."

Cosenza's Fish Market 
2354 Arthur Ave., 718-364-8510

Cosenza's Fish Market
Cosenza's Fish Market

Cosenza's, around the corner from Casa Della Mozzarella, opened in 1918. On warm days, hungry shoppers wait in line at an outdoor raw bar, eager to slurp their oysters and clams in the open air. Indoors, find crates of crabs, wild mussels and littleneck clams, and rows of fresh swordfish, Portuguese octopus and rainbow trout—all at prices any grocery chain would be hard-pressed to match.

Biancardi's 
2350 Arthur Ave., 718-733-4058
Biancardi's
Biancardi's

Inside this classic butcher shop, meat fills cases, hangs from the ceiling and accumulates on the counter as the Biancardi team works on custom cuts for eager patrons who often travel from as far as upstate New York to bring home their share. Adventurous carnivores will also enjoy some harder-to-find selections like tripe, baby goat and even quail. Veal and lamb are among the most popular picks.

Madonia Brothers Bakery 
2348 Arthur Ave., 718-295-5573

Madonia Brothers Bakery
Madonia Brothers Bakery

This carb-lover's paradise pumps out 400 to 500 pounds of biscotti a week in varieties like vanilla nut, double chocolate and Napolitano. And then there's the bread. Beyond classic Italian white, inventive flavors such as jalapeño, prosciutto, chocolate cherry and (at breakfast time) cinnamon swirl might entice you. When Charles Madonia landed at the shop in 1994, he brought his own recipes to the family business—which explains the expansive selection.

Cerini Coffee & Gifts 
2334 Arthur Ave., 718-584-3449

Cerini Coffee & Gifts
Cerini Coffee & Gifts

At Cerini, shelves are stocked with a nearly overwhelming selection of snacks, gift items, espresso machines, coffee beans and gigantic jars of Nutella. "I think you can find more coffee here than in a single location in Italy," says Giovanni Cerini, who works here with his mother, Giovanna, and sister, Stefania. There are more than 25 blends of imported beans, and Cerini doles out samples of the coffee to customers daily.

Peter's Meat Market
2344 Arthur Ave., 718-367-3136

Mike's Deli
Peter's Meat Market co-owner Michael Rella

Duck inside the Arthur Avenue Retail Market, wend your way past the men hand-rolling cigars and step up to Peter's Meat Market. A red awning declares this "Arthur Avenue's Favorite 'Meating' Place," and the butchers here take that statement seriously. "You know everybody by name," says co-owner Michael Rella. "It's not like a supermarket with numbers." The large variety of sausages and mouthwatering selection of cured meats, cheeses and Italian-imported desserts alone are worth the trip to Arthur Avenue.

Roberto's Restaurant 
603 Crescent Ave., 718-733-9503

Roberto Restaurant
Roberto's Restaurant

Charm and elegance resonate throughout this famous southern Italian eatery. Roberto Paciullo opened his restaurant in the late 1980s, finding inspiration from his father, a chef who was always looking ahead to the next meal at home in Salerno. Seasonal dishes like homemade pasta with truffles are made with ingredients bought from neighborhood merchants. "People say I'm lucky to own a restaurant in New York, but I think I'm lucky to be on Arthur Avenue," says Paciullo, who's also the proprietor of Zero Otto Nove in Manhattan and the Bronx. Most days he's here, chatting with customers as they sip on wine and sample his culinary creations.

DeLillo Cafe & Pastry Shop 
610 E. 187th St., 718-367-8198

DeLillo Cafe & Pastry Shop
DeLillo Cafe & Pastry Shop

Colorful trays of sfogliatelle, cannoli and tarts line the cases at DeLillo, which opened in 1925. "Kids' eyes light up as soon as they walk in the door," says Josephine Florio, who has been serving decadent sweets, along with homemade Italian ices, espresso and cappuccino, for 20 years. For Florio, it's all about the signature Arthur Avenue hospitality. "Everyone cheers when you come in," she says.

Borgatti's Ravioli & Egg Noodles 
632 E. 187th St., 718-367-3799

Borgatti's Ravioli & Egg Noodles
Borgatti's Ravioli & Egg Noodles

It doesn't get more Italian than pasta, and on Arthur Avenue, with its wide array of dried and fresh noodles, this is one of the more popular spots to stock up. Ravioli comes in ricotta cheese, meat and spinach varieties, while egg noodles get adventurous with flavors like tomato, carrot, mushroom and squid ink. Pair your purchase with any of the jarred sauces, pesto and vinegars that fill the shelves here and bite into more than 75 years of tradition.

related venues/(9)

  1. 1
    Casa Della Mozzarella
    604 E. 187th St.
    Bronx – Arthur Avenue/Little Italy
    NY 10458
  2. 2
    Cosenza’s Fish Market
    2354 Arthur Ave.
    Bronx – Arthur Avenue/Little Italy
    NY 10458
  3. 3
    Biancardi’s
    2350 Arthur Ave.
    Bronx – Arthur Avenue/Little Italy
    NY 10458
  1. 4
    Madonia Brothers Bakery
    2348 Arthur Ave
    Bronx – Arthur Avenue/Little Italy
    NY 10458
  2. 5
    Cerini Coffee & Gifts
    2334 Arthur Ave.
    Bronx – Arthur Avenue/Little Italy
    NY 10458
  3. 6
    Peter's Meat Market
    2344 Arthur Ave.
    Bronx
    NY 10458
  1. 7
    Roberto's Restaurant
    603 Crescent Ave.
    Bronx – Arthur Avenue/Little Italy
    NY 10458
  2. 8
    DeLillo Cafe & Pastry Shop
    610 E. 187th St.
    Bronx – Arthur Avenue/Little Italy
    NY 10458
  3. 9
    Borgatti’s Ravioli & Egg Noodles
    632 E. 187th St.
    Bronx – Arthur Avenue/Little Italy
    NY 10458

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