Unique Bronx Area Thrives as COVID Wrecks NYC Restaurant Industry

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A scene from a Bronx tale with Bronx born actor “Chazz” Palminteri, far left (screen shot)

By: Jared Evan

While the restaurant industry is collapsing in NYC and some studies indicate as many as half of all NYC restaurants will eventually be out of business, the famed Little Italy in The Bronx is booming.

“I haven’t seen this kind of growth in my 40 years here,” Peter Madonia, chairman of the Belmont District Management Association, which supports and promotes the area’s businesses, told the NY Post.

Technically the Belmont area, the 12-block stretch’s boundaries are Fordham Road to the north, Bronx Park to the east, East 181st Street to the south, and Third Avenue to the west.

The neighborhood was made world famous in the Robert De Nero directed movie about actor “Chazz” Palminteri’s life, A Bronx Tale. The movie which starred Palminteri himself told the story of the NY actor’s childhood growing up in 1960’s Bronx.

Belmont suffered in the early 1970’s when in 1973, the city dismantled the Third Ave Elevated in 1973, further accelerating its decline. Housing stock was lost to arson, some of it razed by the city in the late 1970s and 1980s.

Today the area is thriving and a tourist destination and is famous for its wide array of Italian businesses and the famous Arthur Ave, where a mural of hometown celebrity Chazz” Palminteri can be seen by all.

The Belmont Business Improvement District hosted a ribbon cutting ceremony on, Oct. 9 to celebrate new restaurant openings, local business expansions and the official reopening of Roberto’s Restaurant in Little Italy. In COVID ravaged NYC, Little Italy is offering hope in NYC

While restaurants are folding all over the city, Belmont in the Bronx is bustling. Local Bronx outlet BX Times noted; Enzo’s of Arthur Avenue will expand into the Arthur Avenue Retail Market with “Enzo’s On the Go” and nearby beer hall Clinton Hall, which will offer more open air seating. At “Enzo’s On the Go” patrons will be able to sample scrumptious Roman-style pizza.

Additionally, the Belmont BID recently welcomed new Mediterranean eatery Avenue Gyro, Albanian eatery Dea and Last Call Bar & Grill, whose owner Nicolette Lekocaj, is the daughter of Elizabeth Kajtazi’s, owner of neighborhood staple, Michae Angelo’s. Also, the neighborhood will welcome a new Japanese ramen eatery with a Caribbean twist, Roc N Ramen, in late 2020.

“We’re going to celebrate the opening of four new businesses in this neighborhood, which is stunning,” said Belmont Business Improvement District Chairman Peter Madonia.