Between the swarms of tourists, the smells emanating from Chinatown, and the lack of decent restaurants, there is little reason to venture into NYC’s Little Italy. In fact, all that really remains of the area is 3 blocks on Mulberry Street and there are almost no real italians left there. Chinatown has taken over.
However, if you do find yourself in the area there are still a few bright spots. Alleva Dairy is one of those beacons of hope. It’s been around since 1892, which makes it pretty legit. It’s still owned by the same Italian family that opened the store and they’re still making their homemade mozzarella. Alleva is basically an old school deli and market. It’s a small place but they’ve got a good selection of italian products and they make excellent sandwiches, which is why I go.
This time around I went with soppressata, which is a spicy salami from southern Italy. You can get it hot or sweet but clearly hot is the way to go. I got it on the ciabatta with their homemade mozz and roasted red peppers with oil and vinegar. As you can see from the picture, they don’t skimp on the fillings. This sandwich is easily two meals.
They’ll make you pretty much whatever you want and you can even shop for your favorite italian goods while you’re waiting. So the next time you find yourself wandering around Mulberry street, do yourself a favor, ignore the men yelling at you to come eat at their restaurant and head over to Alleva to support one of the last remaining Little Italy institutions.