Headed up to the Bronx Zoo or the New York Botanical Garden? Just need a new neighborhood to explore for food? Check out Pelham Gardens, where, with an interwoven web of cultures and ethnicities, there’s a grand assortment of things to eat. Here’s a guide to eating your way around the neighborhood.
Tacos el Bronco II (corner of White Plains Road and Lydig Avenue, Bronx; 917-645-8720)
This food truck certainly didn’t pick the most aesthetically pleasing spot to post up (it’s set on a busy intersection underneath the train tracks), but its tacos are worth a stop. Take your pick from beef, chicken, steak, pastor, spicy pork, chorizo, fried pork, pork ear, pork stomach, beef tongue, and beef head — tacos are just $1.75 apiece. Each one comes topped with onion and cilantro; grilled green onion, radish, cucumber, and lime are on the side.
Dukagjini Burek (758 Lydig Avenue, Bronx; 718-822-8955)
Where most burek in NYC are auxiliary items at Albanian-owned pizza shops, this place specializes in one thing and one thing only — authentic Balkan pastry. For $4 apiece, choose spinach and cheese (similar to feta), meat, or just plain cheese, which is like a slightly saltier version of ricotta. Each circular pie is made from phyllo that is stretched and folded by hand in the slightly exposed kitchen. If you sit on the right side of the restaurant, you might be able to watch.
Premier Food (738 Lydig Avenue, Bronx; 718-829-3760)
Get a taste of Russia at this European deli, a narrow storefront that offers a unique selection of Eastern European delicacies. Along the far wall, you’ll find a selection of packaged foods. To the right, there’s one long deli case filled with everything from blocks of cheese resting in briny water to deli meats and sausages to baked goods. While you’re there, try the fruit-filled piroshki ($1.50) — it’s kind of like the Russian rendition of a turnover.
John & Joe’s Pizzeria (749 Lydig Avenue, Bronx; 718-409-9776)
While this parlor sells a number of styles of pizza, it’s known for making a solid New York pie, which is crisp and soft at the same time. Huge slices are topped with bold tomato sauce and hefty portions of cheese. There’s a reason this place has been a neighborhood staple for the past three decades.
Royal Coach Diner (3260 Boston Road, Bronx; 718-653-1716)
Open 24/7, 365 days a year, this neighborhood favorite sums up the diner genre to a T. The vintage-style building is encased by glass and metal; inside, you’ll find booths flanking the perimeter, four-top tables littering the space, and a long pastry case filled with the usual assortment of baked goods and cakes. The multi-page menu encompasses favorites like souvlaki, gyro, lasagna, and all-day breakfast. There’s something here for every budget and every taste (and it’s kid-friendly, too).
Follow Sara Ventiera on Twitter, @saraventiera.