Now after sampling small delights from Mike’s Deli, the experience would be incomplete if you did not sit down in the family’s restaurant across the street called, Arthur Avenue Trattoria.
When asked to described New York in one word, most will diverse. This diversity is apparent in all the different foods you can find all over the city. Food fusions, are fun to find to observe, just how the people of the city have mixed well, so have their foods. However, sometimes we want to visit places all over the world to experience and surround ourselves to a different culture from our own without having to pay those ridiculous airfares. To take a visit to Italy, you would just have to find your way down to Arthur Avenue in the Bronx and visit the Greco family.
The Greco family has roots dating back to 1895 but it was Nonno (Grandfather) Grennaro, along with his wife Nonnabella (Grandmother), who settled in America in 1919 in Greenpoint, Brooklyn but fortunately for us, they decided to move to the Bronx because of the more countryside appeal. Along with them they brought their butchering skills which enabled them to open a their first shop on Arthur Avenue in 1922. Their business was a success and the Gennero was one of the first vendors to find a spot in the Arthur Avenue Market that opened in 1940. Their deli has been there ever since but it is now under their son in law’s name, Mike’s Deli where one of the specialties is delicious mozzarella.
This little restaurant may not be full of many tables, fancy décor or upscale feel but the family’s love and kindness takes up every inch of the place. Mike Greco’s son, David, runs the place along with the help of his wife and son. Unlike many other places where you have to ask to speak to a manager, David and his family make themselves readily available to their customers, even coming the by the table to make sure everything is going well. When I informed him that it was his treat of balsamic vinegar over ricotta cheese that made me come to love the dressing I once hated, he asked the waitress to bring me a small cup of my own of reduced balsamic. He bridged the gap between consumer and seller. The family is very inviting and after a while, whether you’re from the Caribbean islands, Australia, or anywhere else in the world, for the brief time you feel as though you do have a bit of Italian in you.
As for the food, your mouth and nose is overwhelmed with the scents and tastes of Italy. One must go in there with an open mind and with the desire to want to try something new. A good dish to try is the Arthur Avenue style Antipasto, a plate filled with samples of different meats, provolone chunks, large olives and roasted sweet peppers for an appetizer. As for an entrée, the Trattoria serves David’s famous Eggplant Parmesan. Now for the best part, dessert, there are many different choices but one of the ones that stick out the most is the Italian cheesecake made from ricotta cheese.
Both the food and the people of Arthur Avenue Trattoria make you want to go back for more.