E.T. Rodriguez covers the food and drinks scene in the South Bronx for The Hunts Point Express and Mott Haven Herald.

Here’s a sampling of what she has discovered along the way this year:

Hipster, in the Best Way

Andre the bartender with customers at Bar 47.

Feb 11 Dan Fitzgibbons opened Bar 47 on Bruckner Boulevard barely six months ago. But when the doors open at 4 p.m., regulars trickle in until the bar is full and games are roaring at the pool table in the back.

Not even the tug-of-war struggle with the original door of this 1915 building can stop them. 

As soon as you enter, you know that you, too, have become a regular.



Que viva El Porton!

General manager Jose De Marcos Garcia and head bartender Maribel Pablo Madrigal at El Porton.

Feb. 28 I have not been able to stop talking about El Porton on Southern Boulevard. It’s cozy and fills up quickly. The bar boasts over 30 different tequilas and mezcals.

The bulbs hanging above the bar are housed in recycled Patron bottles.

The aesthetic is playful, warm and sincere, setting the tone for an evening of joy and good eats.



Connections, to Go

Saguidi Fofana and Mariaou Diawara at their family-run Balimaya.

March 21 Next door to the gas station on Third Avenue near 138th Street in Mott Haven, a small and unassuming West African restaurant that is a longtime favorite of graveyard-shift taxi drivers and late-night partygoers pumps out a minimalist menu with maximum flavor.

Inside Balimaya, a Nelson Mandela poster hangs on the wall, along with one of Barack Obama and another depicting images of revered African political leaders.  

Three small tables fill the space. But most customers take their food to go, as did I.



The Hub’s Dueling Pincheros 

Mama’s Kabobs, on the left, sits across East 152nd Street from Kebab Stasion.

April 22 In the Hub of the South Bronx, salsa, reggaeton and hip-hop blare from every direction. The air is filled with the sound of busy streets and the aroma of grilled meat.

On the east side of 152nd Street and Third Avenue sit two kebab carts, each topped by Sabrett hot dog umbrellas—and both selling the marinated meats on a stick known as pinchos

Occupying the north corner is Mama’s Kabobs. On the south corner is Kebab Stasion.

Good luck trying to decide which is better.



Cinco for Cinco de Mayo

Frozen Margaritas of the 12- and 27-ounce variety at El Porton.

May 4 Cinco de Mayo, which celebrates Mexico’s win at the battle of Puebla against the French Empire in 1862, typically is celebrated in the United States with Mexican beers, Margaritas, tacos and guacamole.  

Some foreign-born Mexicans living in New York do not celebrate the holiday and find the widespread interest from Americans somewhat odd. 

In any case, the day is a nice boost to the bottom line, especially as small businesses struggle to recover from the pandemic.