Get to Know These Small Businesses in the South Bronx

Rondel Holder

The South Bronx—consisting of neighborhoods such as Mott Haven and Port Morris—is in the midst of a cultural renaissance that is likely to last longer than a New York minute. Streets such as Alexander Avenue and Lincoln Avenue are bustling with new and revived small businesses, many of which are owned by Latino and Black Bronx natives (and long-standing residents), like the popular hip-hop-themed eatery Beatstro and the only independently owned bookstore in the Bronx, The Lit. Bar. The sense of community and intentionality of these businesses creates a palpable positive energy felt when walking around the area.

In an ever-changing landscape, some refer to the Bronx as the last remnants of “real” New York City; part of that is from the people who have been around for a long time and who, together, have weathered obstacles that NYC has faced over the past years. I had the opportunity to check out an event called Meet the Neighbors at Sankofa Haus, a mixer and meeting of the minds of many of these local businesses and creative entrepreneurs in the South Bronx, and that same energy was present in the room. Read on to learn more about some of these small business owners in the South Bronx at the forefront of this momentum.

Amaurys Grullon. Photo: Daniel Harel

Amaurys Grullon, Bronx Native

127 Lincoln Ave., Bronx, NY 10454

Bronx Native is a concept store and brand that highlights, embraces and showcases everything the Bronx has to offer through art, media, apparel and events.

Why did you choose the South Bronx for your business location? “I always say I didn’t choose the Bronx, the Bronx chose me! Our business is the Bronx.”

How would you describe the energy of the South Bronx today? “The energy in the South Bronx is beautiful. Entrepreneurship and community at its finest. We are working together, striving together and winning together.”

Michael “DJ Spynfo” Eagan. Photo: Daniel Harel

Michael “DJ Spynfo” Eagan, Sankofa Haus

2422 Third Ave., Bronx, NY 10454

Sankofa Haus is a community-oriented social space that provides a neighborhood haven and nurtures the connection to Bronx and NYC residents through special events and programming.

Why did you choose the South Bronx for your business location? “I am a Bronx native, and it’s been my mission to create a unique space based on the hip-hop principles of peace, love, unity and having fun."

How would you describe the energy of the South Bronx today? “The South Bronx is packed with creatives and has an abundance of talent. We need more facilities to allow us to express ourselves while we continue to strive for greatness.”

Rosa Garcia. Photo: Daniel Harel

Rosa Garcia, Rosa’s at Park

2568 Park Ave., Bronx, NY 10451

Rosa’s at Park is a Latina-owned Latin fusion restaurant at the Wingate by Wyndam hotel, with a popular brunch offering. Be sure to check out their recently opened rooftop.

Why did you choose the South Bronx for your business location? “I was the owner of the now-closed Mott Haven Bar & Grill, also in the Bronx. It’s the best place to be.”

How would you describe the energy of the South Bronx today? “Energy, eager for more and appreciative for where it’s going to be.”

Carlos Cortés. Photo: Daniel Harel

Carlos Cortés, Chocobar Cortés

141 Alexander Ave., Bronx, NY 10454

Chocobar Cortés is the restaurant extension of legacy chocolate manufacturing company Chocolate Cortés, best known for its rich hot chocolate. The restaurant offers all-day chocolate-centric dining plus brunch on the weekend.

Why did you choose the South Bronx for your business location? “Most Puerto Ricans and Dominicans grew up enjoying the Chocolate Cortés brand. We wanted to go to where our community was, and the Bronx is the stronghold of the Puerto Rican and Dominican communities in New York. We love it here.”

How would you describe the energy of the South Bronx today? “Culturally vibrant with a tight community, the South Bronx represents the future of New York.”

Jeremy Batista and Angela Espinal. Photo: Daniel Harel

Jeremy Batista and Angela Espinal, Bodega Truck

Various locations around NYC, centered in the Bronx

Bodega Truck serves up traditional and remixed versions of the chopped cheese, a classic Bronx sandwich, at sites across the City.

Why did you choose the South Bronx for your business location? “The Bronx is home, where we were born and raised.”

How would you describe the energy of the South Bronx today? “Lit! A lot of people give the Bronx a bad rap, but I’m here to let people know the Bronx is the best borough.”

(From left) Guarionex Marte, Dr. Samuel Echezona, Vladymir Frederique and Dr. Julian Isaacs. Photo: Daniel Harel

Dr. Samuel Echezona, Guarionex Marte, Dr. Julian Isaacs and Vladymir Frederique,iNine Bistro

53 Bruckner Blvd., Bronx, NY 10454

iNine Bistro is a rustic neighborhood bistro with an outdoor garden oasis serving breakfast, brunch, lunch and dinner in the heart of Port Morris.

Why did you choose the South Bronx for your business location? “We grew up in the Bronx and want to reinvest and serve the Bronx community.”

How would you describe the energy of the South Bronx today? “The South Bronx is reemerging quickly. It has electrifying and vibrant energy. We are all excited to be part of that change and looking forward to seeing the community reach its greatest potential in the future.”

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Check out these other small businesses when walking around the area:

The Boogie Down Grind Cafe – hip-hop and jazz themed café

Bricks and Hops – beer garden

Bronx Draft House – beer garden

Bronx Loyal Mobile Barber – men’s grooming services

Ceetay – Asian fusion restaurant

Charlies Bar & Kitchen – New American restaurant with Latin and Southern influences

Don Carvajar – specialty coffee roaster

Famous Nobodys – clothing store

Francesco’s – modern New American restaurant

Hudson Smokehouse – barbecue smokehouse

Monte’s Brick Oven – brick-oven pizza

Port Morris Distillery – modern distillery offering Pitorro, a Puerto Rican liquor

Raze Up – smash therapy rooms


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