The Most Iconic Restaurants & Shops in Chinatown & Little Italy (and the Stories Behind Them)
Chinatown and Little Italy are rich in history. If you take a look around, you will find businesses that are over 100 years old! Here are the most iconic restaurants & shops in Chinatown & Little Italy and the stories behind them. You can also learn more about many of these interesting places on this list and try some of their signature foods on our food tour of Chinatown and Little Italy!
Nom Wah Tea Parlor – 13 Doyers St
Nom Wah Tea Parlor is the oldest dim sum restaurant in Chinatown, dating way back to 1920. It is also located in the middle of Doyers Street aka the Bloody Angle, which was once known as the street where more people died violently than any other. Nom Wah Tea Parlor and Doyers Street are now both must see foodie destinations.
Alleva Dairy – 188 Grand St
Alleva Dairy is the oldest Italian cheese shop in the United States (EST 1892). They are renowned for their delicious fresh mozzarella. Alleva was founded by Pina Alleva and passed down through the family over the years but interestingly enough, it is now co- owned by actor Tony Danza.
Di Palo’s Fine Foods – 200 Grand St
No trip to Little Italy is complete without visiting Di Palo’s Fine Foods. You may be surprised to find that Di Palo’s has been selling authentic Italian goods, cheeses, cured meats and more since 1910 and it is still managed by the Di Palo family.
Chinatown Ice Cream Factory – 65 Bayard St
P.C.: yelp, Jasmine L.
The Chinatown Ice Cream Factory has been a neighborhood staple for decades (almost four decades to be exact). This is the go to spot for exotic Asian flavored ice creams like green tea and red bean. You can easily find them by looking out for their signature dragon.
Wing Kee WK Restaurant – 69 Bayard St
P.C.: yelp – Jen. H.
Wing Kee WK Restaurant has its roots from another Chinese restaurant, 69 Chinese Restaurant. 69 Chinese Restaurant was a neighborhood favorite and it was sad when it closed. But Wing Kee WK Restaurant opened shortly thereafter in the same location, with most of the same staff and with the same traditions, namely customers writing messages on dollar bills and taping along the walls of the restaurant.
Lombardi’s Pizza – 32 Spring St
Lombardi’s is the first pizzeria in the United States but it started out as a grocery store even before that. They moved to their current location in 1984 but little else has changed. They are still making their coal fired, thin crust pizzas the same way since it was founded in 1905.
Ferrara Bakery & Cafe – 188 Grand St
Finally Ferrara’s is one of the oldest businesses in the neighborhood. It first opened in 1892, making Ferrara’s the oldest espresso bar in the city. The neighborhood has changed a lot but luckily businesses like Ferrara’s, Alleva Dairy and Di Palo’s are timeless. We don’t know what we would do if we couldn’t get some of the delicious cannoli from here any longer.