Arthur Avenue is the Little Italy of the Bronx. Many years ago, Italian immigrants started to settle in the area for work on the railroads and other buildings. A strong community formed, and traces of it are still represented today, even though the neighborhood is becoming more diverse. Most of the Italian families owned their homes and store fronts, which has helped retain the authenticity you will find on an Arthur Avenue Food Tour. While on this 2.5 hour tour you will discover the best spots in Little Italy of the Bronx, where you can taste and shop for authentic Italian items. I had considered exploring Arthur Avenue on my own, but now realize how many gems I would have missed if I hadn’t had the expertise of a local tour guide.
The Arthur Avenue Food Tour
The tour is offered Thursday – Saturday from 11am – 1:30pm. You meet your guide, Danielle, at the Arthur Avenue Food Market, a lovely collection of small Italian food stands. The market used to be outdoors, but the city built this building to house the stands to improve sanitary conditions. You’ll find coffee shops, lunch spots, sausage, cheese, and flowers. If you only have time for one stop on Arthur Avenue, this is a good place to find most of what you’re looking for.
The first tasting was a canoli. Most people don’t start with dessert, but when on an Italian food tasting, this is by far the best way to start. While coffee is not provided on the tour, you can order one here to go with your canoli. I have to admit, I was nervous. Can it really get any better than canoli???
I’m not sure if you’ve ever been asked this tough question before. If you could only have one for the rest of your life, would you choose chocolate or cheese? This is an incredibly difficult question, but I think I would choose cheese. Luckily, our next stop was Calandra Cheese, where there were more than a dozen cheese available to sample.
What goes best with cheese? Sausage! Our next stop was Calabria Pork Store. I actually picked up a sausage to bring home for later. It was so delicious. They offer sweet and spicy variants to sample. Don’t miss out!
Next up was Madonia bakery for some olive bread straight from the oven. The bakery is still owned by the founding family. I’d highly recommend the olive bread, but the cookies looked scrumptious as well!
The next stop was Castanza Oyster Bar and Fish Market. You can sample oysters right on the sidewalk.
The next stop was Teitel Brothers, an old fashioned grocery store, where you can purchase your favorite Italian olive oils, olives, crackers, and more.
The next stop was another bakery, Addeo’s. Here we tasted chicola bread, made with chunks of crispy cured pork. The bakers only make this special bread on certain days. We were lucky to get to try it! We also sampled a variety of other breads and crackers at this stop.
The next stop was Egidio’s Bakery for a classic Italian cookie. They also sell a variety of other pastries including canoli. Danielle has even led a canoli making class in this bakery!
If you’ve ever had fresh pasta, Borgatti’s is the place for you. You can pick up ravioli or pasta in a variety of shapes and sizes. They make the pasta fresh right here in the store!
Our next, and final stop was Joe’s Italian Deli for some of the best mozzarella you can find on Arthur Avenue. Joe’s is also a popular lunch spot for locals. You can pick up sandwiches or other deli items to go or to dine in.
The Arthur Avenue Food Tour concluded at Arthur Avenue Retail Market, where we began. We took a quick tour through to see the lively lunch time activity. Here you could pick up some of your favorite treats to take home, grab lunch, and explore.
If you make it up to Arthur Avenue, you might want to check out the New York Botanical Gardens. I walked from Arthur Avenue, through the Fordham campus, to the gardens. It makes for a perfect day trip to the Bronx.