Arthur Avenue is the Bronx’s Little Italy’s shopping street. A few tourists find their way there but most of the shoppers on Arthur Avenue know what they’re buying and intend to take it home and make a meal of it. The Arthur Avenue food stores sell products that you can’t get just anywhere. And they’re products that are necessary for an Italian kitchen.
Last week my sister Nicki and I went to pick up a few things. We came home with bacalla, liver sausage, soprasade, olive oil, ricotta salada, fruselle, biscotti, tripe, and some very fresh fruit and vegatables. There aren’t many places where you can get all that within a block or two. Plus we snacked on clams on the half-shell, ate lunch at a great restaurant (Emilia’s) and later got some fresh baked sfogliatelle and espresso.
I have some sad news. DeRobertis Pasticceria is closing. They’ve been on First Ave. between Tenth and Eleventh Streets in Manhattan since 1904. And I’ve been going there since, well, I remember tagging along with my father on Sunday mornings to get pastry for after dinner – biscotti, cannoli, babas and sfogliatelle to go with our Anisette and black coffee. At Easter their pizza con gran couldn’t be beat and at Christmas they had the best struffoli.
The owner said the “new” local people expect his pasticceria to be more like Starbucks. (See Jeremiah’s Vanishing New York) Too bad they don’t know what it is that they have. And that it will be gone soon.