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How Arthur Avenue Maintains Christmas Traditions at the Bronx

There is nothing like a trip to an ‘Old World’ Italian neighborhood during the holidays – it can almost be as though you are stepping back in time. In a world where social media now dominates the headlines, it is comforting to return to the place where so many of us have our roots, a neighborhood of our parents or grandparents that is still steeped in tradition – the place that they called home upon arrival in America. Even if your family didn’t live in the Arthur Avenue section of the Bronx, it retains all of the features and charm that made these places special. The Christmas season is a magical time for all to reflect on their history, while maintaining the traditions that have shaped our lives and will continue to do so into the future. Arthur Avenue, located in the Belmont section of the Bronx, is such a place. Through the years, it has remained proudly Italian and fiercely loyal to its heritage.

With Christmas Eve almost upon us, you’ll want to visit Cosenza’s Fish Market located at 2354 Arthur Avenue (or call John at 718-364-8510). The market specializes in all kinds of seafood and is renowned for their clams and oysters. Get all of the seafood that you’ll need for a seven fishes dinner and whether its cod, calamari, scungilli or shrimp, you’ll find the freshest selections at Cosenza’s.

For a tremendous array of Italian groceries and great prices on a full range of imported products, visit Teitel Brothers, 2372 Arthur Avenue, 718 -733-9400. These days in giant food markets offering all manner of “international’ foods, there remains a small, 900 square foot grocery store called Teitel Brothers. Products from pasta to canned goods surround you. The smell of fine aged cheese lifts your spirts as you’re greeted by one of the owners. The store is well known for excellent prices for exceptional products. You will find the finest imported cooking ingredients, a dizzying array of olives, the most incredible Italian sausages that you are likely to have tasted (judged to be the best in New York in by the Daily News). Teitel Brothers opened a century ago on Arthur Avenue. Now in the third and fourth generations at the same location, Gilbert, Benjamin, Louis and their sons continue to bring appasionatto to their wholesale and retail establishment.

When it comes to pasta – order a few pounds of egg noodles, ravioli and fresh dough for lasagna and manicotti at Borgatti’s, 632 East 187th Street, 718-367-3799. Their huge variety of homemade specialties have had customers returning to the store for generations – and with good reason. Their reputation is such that at a high-end salon in the western suburbs of New Jersey, one of its patrons was recently heard espousing the quality and authentic taste of the pasta from Borgatti’s. Several patrons smiled knowingly. Borgatti’s has been part of their annual holiday pilgrimage for years!

For over 80 years of history, the Addeo family has owned and operated their bakery in the Bronx’s vibrant Little Italy. The family heritage of being a premier maker of traditional Italian bread and biscuits began three generations ago with founders Gennaro and Vincenza opening a bread shop. Today their grandsons Thomas and Laurence have taken the mantle of leadership of this dynasty from their fathers Salvatore and Laurence. They are proud to say “our family proudly serves your family.” When in the area you must stop by for the freshest pane di casa, pizza dough, breadsticks, biscuits and whole wheat semolina. Addeo Bakery is located at 2372 Hughes Avenue in the Bronx. Call them to order at 718- 367-8316.

Since 1954, Vincent’s has been providing families with the highest quality meats, recipes, tips and top quality service. They believe that buying meat should not be a guessing game, so only skilled butchers cut each order to your exact specifications. They will also provide cooking advice to ensure that you leave the store with knowledge, not unanswered questions. It is all about the quality at Vincent’s – the finest cuts of meat at prices that are lower than you find at the supermarket.  Vincent’s is located in the heart of the Bronx’s Little Italy at 2374 Arthur Avenue. Call them at 718-295-9048 to ask about specials and any cuts of meat that you will need for the holidays.

At the Madonia Bakery you will find a traditional Sicilian pastry shop has been baking on-premises for 99 years! From sweet teats such as biscotti, flaky pastries and, of course, freshly filled cannoli, to their savory delights – breads stuffed with olives, prosciutto, fennel and provolone, everything is so good you’ll need to buy two. You’re likely to eat half of everything on the way home!  Located at 2348 Arthur Avenue, call 718-295-5573.

In between shopping and strolling in Belmont, take a break at a café for an espresso and Italian pastry. You’ll find shops with varieties of all of your favorite pastries and specialty sweets. Once you’ve been to Arthur Avenue for holiday shopping, you’ll likely become a customer for life!