Al Fresco Dining Returns to Little Italy in The Bronx

After a brief pause during the winter months, ‘Piazza di Belmont’ will return by the end of this month to Arthur Avenue providing diners with ample room along the famed road.

Beginning Friday, April 30th, Arthur Avenue will be closed to vehicular traffic between East 188th Street to Crescent Avenue, two blocks longer thank last year which was only up to 186th Street.

Street closure will be from 6pm to 10pm on Fridays and Saturdays and on Sundays from 1pm to 9pm which is the same schedule as last year when it was first launched as a response to the COVID-19 pandemic and struggling restaurants unable to host indoor dining. The only difference this time around is that it has been shortened by one day by eliminating Thursdays from the schedule.

“While the pandemic has devastated our city, borough, and neighborhood, we are hopeful for the future with the ongoing vaccinations, lifting restrictions, and the re-launch of Piazza di Belmont, which has become popular with our guests and allows more visitors to dine outdoors during the warmer months,” said Peter Madonia, Chairman of the Belmont BID. 

Piazza di Belmont returns this month as Arthur Avenue will be closed to vehicular traffic on select days.

And yes, that’s the same Madonia who owns Madonia Bakery which has been in operation for over a century on Arthur Avenue and makes its signature olive bread the same way as the day they opened all those years ago.

Madonia added, “Many of the small businesses in Bronx Little Italy are owned and operated by the same families who founded them over a century ago – some of which have already been through the 1918 pandemic. Piazza di Belmont will help to support many of these family-operated restaurants on weekend evenings, while the streets will remain open during normal business hours throughout the week to support our essential and retail businesses.”

Many of our beloved Arthur Avenue institutions will partake in Piazza di Belmont mainstays like Zero Otto Nove, Mario’s, Enzo’s (a personal favorite amongst all these great spots), Estrellita Poblana, Ann & Tony’s, Pasquale Rigoletto and many more according to the Belmont BID.

Estrellita Poblana, a local favorite

The coronavirus pandemic has forced us to rethink what our public spaces could or should look like and has given us an opportunity to experiment with more open, pedestrian, and business friendly spaces.

With restrictions placed on indoor dining to keep everyone safe during these times, restaurants have been allowed to install outdoor dining spaces without the expensive and bureaucratic paperwork that made it all but impossible for small mom and pop restaurants to even attempt to apply for the necessary permits.

Outdoor dining has been a lifeline for many establishments and in some cases has even doubled capacity.

For a place like Arthur Avenue lined with specialty shops like the bakeries, pasta shops, butchers, and fish markets, it’s a great way for folks to relax and enjoy while shopping and dining on what was called one of America’s Great Streets in 2016 by the American Planning Association.

Emilias

During that declaration, the APA wrote, “Arthur Avenue is an exceptionally rich streetscape lined with restaurants, grocery stores, and shops promoting Italian heritage, dating back to large Italian migration starting at the turn of the 20th century. Nearly every shop is an institution, passed down through generations of families that have lived in the neighborhood. There is no better place to sample delicious bread, pasta, sausage, or espresso — the Zagat Survey readers repeatedly give “Best Buy” status to more Arthur Avenue shops than in any other neighborhood in New York City.”

For those that know Arthur Avenue, do we really need another reason to go and support the place we love so much?

Probably not.

So, mark your calendars and get ready to enjoy some good dining in New York City’s real Little Italy.

Dear reader: Now more than ever it is important to support local journalism especially as told by a Bronx born and raised journalist telling our stories. If you found this or any of our stories informative and enjoyed our photography throughout the past years, kindly consider donating to support local Bronx journalism for decades to come:

Facebook Comments