Back to School Restaurant Guide for NYC Foodies

Back to School: Where Can We Eat, Mingle?

By Morris Gut


DINING OUT– Fall college semesters are gearing up. Here are some dining and networking suggestions with students in mind.


MARIO’S, 2342 ARTHUR AVE., BRONX 718-584-1188


Since 1919 five generations of the Migliucci family have worked the front and back-of-the-house making sure patrons are well served at this venerable Little Italy institution. 



This restaurant is about to reach its 100th Anniversary! Amiable Joe Migliucci, the current patriarch, is there with his wife Barbara, daughter Regina and sons Michael and Mario. Joe’s mom, Mama Rose Migliucci, was considered to be ‘the first lady of Arthur Ave.’


The flavorful sauces and gravies produced in this kitchen are the stuff of Italian ‘foodie heaven.’ And for those in the know, the old-world menu also holds many surprises.


For starters enjoy the palate pleasing lagniappe of marinated carrots, hot peppers and good crusty Arthur Ave. bread.  Special Hint: If you ask, the house will prepare one of its famous Neapolitan pizzas, or the ultimate fresh Calzone. They are truly among the best.


Through the years celebrities from all walks of life and politicos galore have passed thru here. The pictures lining the walls tell the story. Open Tuesday thru Sunday. Private party facilities. Free parking lot and valet service. 


BRONX BEER HALL, 2344 ARTHUR AVE., BRONX 1-347-396-0555


Located inside the historic Arthur Ave. Retail Market, not far from Fordham University, the Bronx Beer Hall is a good place to hang for good locally sourced sandwiches and craft beers.



Mike’s Deli just down the aisle coordinates some of the food service with the bar and it is good, hearty Italian. The beers are from all over the map. Good spot for mingling and networking. Entertainment schedule. Open 7 days. 




Near Concordia and Sarah Lawrence College, owner Dominic Cesarini of The Quarry operates a handsomely renovated bi-level 70-seat dining room and bustling bar/lounge that is always engaged in spirited networking. There are artsy exposed pipes and vents on the ceiling. A lovely area rug and acoustics temper the noise level. Handsome brown wood and clay tone walls, warm lighting fixtures and modern sturdy dark brown butcher block type chairs and tables highlight the floor with large picture windows with seating spilling out onto Main. The staff here is most friendly, efficient and eager to please. 


Cesarini, a ‘local grill man’ himself whose family owned and operated several cafes and grills in the Bronx-Tuckahoe-Eastchester area, has kicked it up a notch with a nice mix of reasonably priced American tavern comfort fare with a good dose of broccoli rabe. $10 lunch special served daily. Their juicy burgers, the Spiedini, and Lobster/Shrimp Salad Roll are winners.  



Open 7 days. 




I have been impressed with the great food, fine wines and hospitality I have encountered at cozy Ernie’s Wine Bar & Eats in Bronxville. Current proprietors Luisanna, an excellent home cook, and her husband Frank Scalera, a dentist by profession, have been adding their own signature to the convivial atmosphere and daily bill-of-fare. 


Out of Ernie’s tiny kitchen come laudatory renditions of American/Global dishes bursting with flavor. Oenophiles, take note. The carefully selected wines served here, many from small-batch independent producers, can be heavenly. It is a wonderful place to unwind, take in some music on special nights, and indulge. 


The small bar is great for networking, too. Recent food tastings here have included Luisanna’s amazing polpettina meatballs, cheese & charcuterie platter, Duck Wontons, Duck Confit, a wonderful Fettuccine Carbonara; Mushroom & Pea Risotto, and Baked Cod with Vierge Sauce. There is live entertainment. Check ahead for updates. Open Monday thru Saturday for happy hour and dinner. 




This restaurant is just a short drive from SUNY Purchase and Manhattanville. There is a Pizza Bar creating tasty pies you can order to eat in or take out. Chef Nazareno Danielle and his team serve up a seasonal Italian menu loaded with flavor. Also check out such house specialties as: Roasted Beets with goat cheese mousse, Sicilian pistachios and micro greens; house made Chittara pasta with veal polpettine and shaved ricotta salata; Squid Ink Pasta with shrimp, bay scallops, chillies and arugula; classic Veal, Chicken or Shrimp Parmigiana; Wild Striped Bass Mediterraneo with capers, olives and cherry tomatoes; and Day Boat Scallops, pan-seared with baby arugula, risotto, sun-dried tomato and roasted pepper gremolata. Bar/lounge. Happy Hours. Live entertainment and dancing Thursday evenings. Party facilities. Major credit cards. Ample free parking. 




Near the College of New Rochelle and not far from Iona, owner Nick DiCostanzo serves seaside meals, great farm-to-table tomato salads, and sea-to-table dishes. 


A new Cicchetti Bar Menu offers a variety of tasty small plates throughout the day. Mamma Francesca is located on the banks of Long Island Sound with 6-story views of the ‘Queen City’s’ boat clubs. There is a talented kitchen staff preparing a seasonal menu of robust specialties: fresh Ischia Salad; good retro versions of Chicken, Veal or Shrimp Parmigiana; Mamma’s Chicken Breast Europeo, stuffed with prosciutto, mozzarella, mushrooms and spinach in a Marsala wine sauce; a big platter of Misto Frutti di Mare loaded with shrimp, clams, calamari and mussels in a red sauce over linguini; and Pork Chops or Sirloin della Nonna, served with sliced potatoes, peppers, mushrooms and onions. Daily Happy Hours. Party facilities & off-premise catering. 


Free parking. 


(Morris Gut is a restaurant marketing consultant and former restaurant trade magazine editor. He has been tracking and writing about the food and dining scene in greater Westchester for 30 years. He may be reached at: 914-235-6591. E-mail:

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