John Kasich was Photographed At Mike's

Article content A Bronx visit to Arthur Avenue means one thing: Italian food.

Article content Fresh mozzarella, homemade pasta and hero sandwiches stuffed with ham, tomatoes and cheese are all offered in the delis along Arthur Avenue and East 187th Street.

Arthur Avenue is Italian. The Bronx's Belmont region is famous for its food and culture originating from Italy.

Some of the most well-known restaurants include Tino's Deli, Madonia Brothers Bakery and an oldschool, family-style restaurant called Dominick's. There are many other places where you can take advantage of the bounty of the neighborhood. Visit the DeLillo Pasticceria cafe, where display shelves overflow with pastries and cookies, for a sublime cappuccino and cannoli. Borgatti's pasta shop is a fantastic location to view egg noodles made right there. Borgatti's take-home favorites include ravioli and fettuccine that are made with squid Ink.

Signing you up was difficult.

Article content The Arthur Avenue Retail Market is an essential stop on any trip to the region. The indoor market has a shop where cigars can be made by hand, a produce shop, and Mike's Deli. It is a popular spot for celebrities and politicians. In early April, Ohio Gov. John Kasich was photographed at Mike's eating sandwiches and a few servings of spaghetti while begging votes in the New York Republican presidential primary. The deli's scrapbook with photos of other famous visitors such as Robert DeNiro (and Hillary Clinton) who were seen eating huge quantities of cheese and whole salamis.

David Greco, whose father created Mike's Deli, recommends the Michelangelo hero, served with prosciutto and delicious fresh mozzarella as one of the most delicious items on the menu. Just be careful to keep the seeded top of the sandwich roll face up. Greco will be aware of this and inform you that "Your bread is upside down." It's bad luck.

Article content Arthur Avenue is located in the Belmont section of the Bronx. Belmont claims it is the "real" Little Italy. Belmont claims it has a larger and more vibrant Italian American community than Manhattan's Little Italy which has shrunk to a few blocks in recent decades.

While Belmont's Italian culture and its retailers remain strong, the number Italian-American families has decreased in recent decades. The local mix today includes Latinos, Albanians and students from nearby Fordham University. You can still see old women who speak Italian in the back row of Our Lady of Mount Carmel Church, which is surrounded by marble columns and stained glass windows.

It's not uncommon to see tourists and foodies - including visitors from Italy - on Arthur Avenue, there's a particular kind of shopper Greco loves the most. "My favourite customers," he says, "are the grandmas."

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