It’s a sign of the times in the Bronx’s Little Italy that Roberto’s, a destination restaurant owned by a native of Salerno, now finds itself surrounded by Latin American street eats. At Anayely, a nearby Honduran grocery, the friendly staff pushes a griddle onto the sidewalk, pats out hefty wheat-flour tortillas to order, grills them to a nicely blistered brown, and rolls baleadas—”like tacos that’ve been hitting the gym,” as squid kun describes them on Chowhound.
In the baleada “con todo” (pictured), those thick, pleasingly chewy tortillas are stuffed with fried beans, avocado, scrambled egg, crema, and cheese (add a squeeze of the tart house hot sauce). It’s a tasty, filling bite for under $4. The short menu also includes meats with fried green banana and chicken, beef, or fish soups. And on Sundays, there’s chicharrón (fried marinated pork), reports Jim Leff, who finds this place “great.”
A block west is Mi Jacalito, a grocery run by folks from Morelos—a reflection of the neighborhood’s growing Mexican presence in recent years. It also deploys a sidewalk griddle, turning out quesadillas that start with masa dough pressed to order into thickish ovals, grilled, and topped with shredded white cheese. A mushroom filling with onion and epazote hits the spot; other options are chicken and sausage. The quesadillas are finished with crema and salsa, then folded lengthwise. Also on the menu: tortas, tostadas, and elotes.
There’s no seating save for a couple of collapsible stools for dining on the tree-shaded sidewalk; Plan B might be a chair in front of Bato’s barbershop next door or a bench in the little park across the street. Wherever you eat, these are two ‘hound-worthy options for anyone shopping and grazing Arthur Avenue who isn’t in the mood for Italian or Balkan chow.
Anayely Fruits & Vegetables [Bronx]
613 Crescent Avenue (between Hughes and Belmont avenues), Bronx
Mi Jacalito Deli Grocery [Bronx]
591 Crescent Avenue (between Arthur and Hughes avenues), Bronx
Photo by Chowhound user squid kun