The Bronx’s Little Italy on Arthur Avenue intends on moving full speed ahead to close its street for piazza style, outdoor dining on weekend evenings per Phase 2 of the city’s reopening.
Belmont Business Improvement District treasurer, Frank Franz, said that the street closure will likely begin around Friday, July 10 as the Department of Transportation has already granted forms of temporary approval for the streetside al fresco dining plan.
Franz, who first told amNewYorkMetro about the Bronx Little Italy’s outdoor dining plan also noted that while time is of course essential for restaurants and businesses, there wasn’t much sense in rushing things before a holiday weekend that’s best known for backyard barbecues.
While that plan, which will make diners feel more like their paisanos in Tuscany, is still days away, the iconic avenue is already set for an expansive and unique outdoor culinary experience that can’t be enjoyed anywhere but the Bronx.
The famed Mike’s Deli, which has been a cornerstone of the Arthur Avenue Retail Market has already created outdoor, curbside seating while many other stands in the market have done the same.
Owner Dave Greco, who took the business over from his late father, Mike said that COVID was the most trying experience for his eatery since he began working under his dad at age 12.
He stressed that the city’s upcoming Phase 3, hopefully starting in early July is crucial not just for his business, but for the entire strip of restaurants surrounding the Belmont block.
Greco added that Arthur Avenue needs to see a return of its loyal, out-of-town customer base that religiously treks from Westchester, Connecticut and Long Island to begin making a fierce comeback from coronavirus.
“They may not technically be from the neighborhood but to us they’re locals,” he said.
Another reason Greco sees Phase 3 as a pivotal step is to not depend on climate for good business on any given day.
Though, on a hot day he has diners at Mike’s Deli covered for a meal that isn’t to be trifled with — the “Bobby D” sandwich named for Robert De Niro himself.
Greco serves such a behemoth of a sandwich paired with prosciutto wrapped cantaloupe that comes garnished with mint, lemon, and a balsamic glaze paired with, of course imported Italian peach Prosecco on tap.
That comes in addition remarkably friendly, tableside service in a shaded tent adjacent to the retail market.
More of the magnificent offerings from Mike’s Deli can bee seen on Instagram.
Meanwhile, other restaurants like Enzo’s are utilizing both backyard space as well as in-street dining for Phase 2.
As an upscale restaurant, Enzo’s couldn’t thrive on a take-out based model during COVID and is quite eager to bring customers back inside at a modified capacity per Phase 3 regulations.
Management expressed optimism about being able to configure a new, indoor dining set-up that will be both functional and enjoyable for the upcoming weeks as well.
Ajo y Oregano, a Dominican restaurant adjacent to Arthur Avenue is also making the best use of its cute and quaint outdoor space too.
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This upcoming weekend is going to be a pivotal one for the success of Belmont, many on Arthur Avenue say — so if you’re looking for some elegant outdoor dining plans, seek no further.