Every once in a while the muddled sounds of conversation, music, and cue balls clanking against pool tables spill onto the corner of 236th Street and Broadway. The source of the sounds is The Bridge Tavern, a neighborhood pub with an emphasis on the community. Its ceiling stretches over the establishment with a mural dedicated to Kingsbridge and another mural celebrating the Yankees. Amid a row of Bronx street signs and a wraparound bar, servers fuel the chatter with beer, wings, and half-pound burgers.
When the Food Network’s Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives came to visit Mo Gridder’s BBQ, host Guy Fieri couldn’t get over that barbecue this delicious was being served in the parking lot of a Bronx auto-repair shop. But when, like Fred Donley, you’re both a head mechanic and a head chef, you have to keep your workplaces close together. Fred picked up BBQ as a hobby a few years back and started to bring in samples for his customers at the auto shop. Their rave reviews encouraged him to make it a part of his business. Now you’ll find a 35-foot cooking trailer in the parking lot and a dining area in a room where he used to service cars. On certain days, you can even get special deals that combine Fred’s two passions, such as a windshield replacement and a rack of ribs.
Despite its unusual setting, Mo Gridder’s still serves up barbecue “so good you’ll think you’re in Texas,” according to Fieri. Fred slow-cooks all his meats in a massive cooker, so whether it’s his signature pulled pork sandwiches, brisket, chicken, or ribs, it’s tender and juicy.
Though it may be located in the heart of Little Italy, don't listen for the Rat Pack at Casa Cafe Restaurant. Instead, notes stitched together to form Latin jazz and salsa tunes blanket the air, complementing the menu of Latin American flavors. Throughout the cozy dining room, flickering candles illuminate the tables, where guests dig into oxtail stew, fried pork chops, and chicken enchiladas smothered in swiss cheese and jalapeno salsa cream. Lunches and dinners offer up Latin staples such as tacos and quesadillas?stuffed with your choice of chicken, cheese, and shrimp?and breakfast offerings range from pancakes and omelets to breakfast burritos and huevos rancheros. And dishes are accompanied by fried-green or sweet plantains or yuca.
Grill 26 sits within the Club of Riverdale, enticing members and non-members alike with its diverse menu of classic American grill fare. Traditional egg entrees and challah french toast populate the petite breakfast menu while sandwiches, wraps, burgers, pasta, and grilled meats emerge at lunch and dinner. Chefs design the selection to suit any appetite: veggie burgers and roasted eggplant cater to vegetarians, hearty sirloin steaks and lamb chops sate meat lovers, and protein shakes and salads refuel athletes fresh from a workout or a race with a golf ball.
Diners can savor their meals at the wood-accented indoor bar lined with flat screen TVs, or cozy up under the umbrella-covered tables highlighted by glowing lights from a tiki bar in the outdoor lounge. For club members, Grill 26 grants entertainment in the form of live music and seasonal pool parties.
Surrounded by ultrachic stylings?from the ceiling dappled with convex mirrors to a curving mosaic wall?patrons lounge, drink, and dine at Asian Wave. Diners can cruise the drink list, whose offerings range from hot and cold sake to more than 10 types of specialty martinis. The kitchen's hot dishes, including homemade dumplings, thai coconut-curry casserole, and crispy tempura, couple with sushi and sashimi to compose a comprehensive Pan-Asian menu.
Drivers leaving Famous Pizza Express wait for their cars to fill with aromatic steam that hints at the contents of warm boxes. The vapors suggest pastas, calzones, and pizzas crowned with toppings including breaded chicken, meatballs, broccoli, and fresh garlic. Massive trays of chicken parmigiana and gnocchi are ideal for feeding partygoers or convincing an IRS auditor that you really do have 11 dependent Italian grandmothers.