When my cousin and I scheduled our tour with Bronx Historical Tours to see some of the prettiest churches in The Bronx last summer, we never expected we would be paying a visit to one of the most beloved shops in Little Italy!
While making our way from Our Lady of Mount Carmel Church on 187th Street and Belmont Avenue, we crossed the street to take some pictures of the church. As we continued walking towards Hugh’s Avenue on our way back to the car, we came upon Borgattis Ravioli and Egg Noodle Shop.
I commented to Alexandra Maruri, owner of Bronx Historical Tours, that I had passed this shop many times and had always wanted to check it out. Encouraged by Alexandra to go in and meet the Borgatti family, I did just that!
The impromptu stop was undoubtedly one of the high points of the day and with the close relationship enjoyed between our amiable tour guide and the Borgatti family, it was a real treat!
The Belmont section of The Bronx has certainly undergone many changes throughout the last eight decades, however, there’s comfort in knowing that some things have stayed and remain the same in a neighborhood that is rooted in ethnic tradition.
As I walked into Borgatti’s I was triggered with a rush of memories from my own childhood and Italian upbringing. The only word I could think of to describe it was "old school."
Borgatti's felt like the shops I would go in with my grandmother as a child when she would do her marketing. Specialty shops for everything, owned and managed by families. No slick displays or modern retail fixtures. Just a warm feeling of times gone by when the products and services spoke for themselves.
It was clear that Alexandra was a familiar face upon entering, as she was greeted by the friendly folks behind the counter. She proceeded to introduce me and my cousin Tanya, to which we received a warm and inviting welcome.
The rest of our visit was a pure delight as Christopher Borgatti, great-grandson of founder, Lindo Borgatti, imbued us with the history of his family's pasta shop and captivated us with a first-hand glimpse into their specialty pasta making.
The store was opened in 1935 by Christopher's great-grandparents, with Lindo Borgatti, the first generation owner of the store. His son, Mario Borgatti, began working at the store at seventeen years old and became synonymous with the store, which is still thriving and going strong more than eighty years and four generations after its founding.
Borgatti's Ravioli and Egg Noodle Shop still provides the community with quality ravioli and pasta. Moving strong into the 21st Century, the company's products are shipped around the country, via their online store, allowing for their homemade Italian specialties to be savored by pasta lovers near and far!
Christopher was amazingly friendly and knowledgable and took us on a little guided pasta making tour of their noodles. Running the sheets of pasta through the cutting machine, which is in plain view for customers to see, we witnessed varying widths cut before our eyes.
For anyone growing up in an Italian household, with an Italian grandmother, the pasta machine is easily identified in an instant! Of course, Grandma's was much smaller and fit on the table. I still remember making pasta with her I love the homemade tradition so much that I still continue it with my kids - when I can.
A feeling of reverence for the family patriarch, Mario Borgatti, as well as founder, Lindo, is palpable within the store. Old photos, including beautiful wedding images, line the walls, honoring the memories of the Borgatti men who went before Christopher and his dad, also named Christopher, who continue to run the business.
With the death of Mario Borgatti (Christopher's Grandfather) in 2014, a beloved member of the Arthur Avenue community, a tribute was paid with the renaming of the street at the southeast corner of East 187th Street and Hughes Avenue to Mario Borgatti Way. He died at the age of 97.
Fortunately, the store lives on!!
Till next time,
For Your Information:
Borgatti's Ravioli & Egg Noodles
632 E 187th Street
Bronx, NY 10458
Phone: (718) 367-3799
Sunday & Monday: Closed
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Elisa is a travel blogger and freelance writer. She is co-founder of TravelinCousins.com travel blog and writes a weekly column for ThisIsTheBronx.info.