Treat yourself this Friday to a meal of pierogis followed by cheesecake. East Village icons Veselka and Veniero’s Pasticceria & Caffe, the Ukrainian restaurant that started in 1954 and the Italian bakery that opened in 1894 respectively, will both reopen for takeout and delivery on May 1. Eater spotted the news on Veniero’s Instagram that the bakery will reopen for takeout, delivery, and curbside pickup. Likewise, Veselka posted on their Instagram that they will open for takeout and delivery.
October, the month we mark Columbus Day, is also Italian-American Heritage and Culture Month. That combined with the recent celebrations around the 125th anniversary of beloved pastry shop Veniero’s inspires a closer look at the East Village’s own historic Little Italy, centered around First Avenue near the beloved pastry shop and cafe. While not nearly as famous or intact as similar districts around Mulberry Street or Bleecker and Carmine Street in the South Village, if you look closely vestiges of the East Village’s once-thriving Italian community are all around.
In the second half of the 19th century, the East Village was a vibrant checkerboard of ethnic enclaves. Germans were by far the dominant group, until the turn of the century when Eastern European Jews took over the Second Avenue spine and much of what’s now Alphabet City, Hungarians congregated along Houston Street, and Slavs and Poles gravitated towards the blocks just west and north of Tompkins Square. But a linear Italian-American enclave formed along and near First Avenue, broadening at 14th Street. Vestiges of this community survived into the third quarter of the 20th century, with just a few establishments and structures connected to that era continuing to function today.
A longtime Italian pastry shop is celebrating its 125th anniversary this month and celebrating in the best way possible: free cannolis. Family-owned and operated since 1894, Veniero’s has grown from a small immigrant-owned candy shop in the East Village to a New York City institution, selling more than 150 desserts today. On Monday, Sept. 23, the bakery will offer free mini cannolis (while supplies last), live music, and a discount of 18.94 percent on all orders, according to Time Out.
Cannoli, cheesecake, and an East Village icon: See history in action at 125-year-old Veniero’s Pastry, Tue, November 13, 2018
Ask a group of New Yorkers where to find the best cannolis or cheesecake, and without a doubt, you’ll hear Veniero Pasticceria and Caffé. An East Village institution, Veniero’s is a family-owned and operated Italian pastry shop that was established by Italian immigrant Antonio Veniero in 1894. Veniero, who lived with his family next door, started the business as a candy shop. He then started serving Italian espresso and biscotti and by the 1920s, he had brought in master bakers from Sicily to run the kitchen.
A century later, Veniero’s is still family-owned and is celebrating is 125th anniversary next year. We had the chance to tour the caffé and bakery with Robert Zerilli, the fourth-generation current owner and great-nephew of founder Antonio Veniero. Today, Veniero’s serves more than 150 desserts, from traditional Italian butter cookies and cannolis to some more modern offerings such as red velvet cake and oreo cheesecake. Ahead, go behind the scenes to see how all these tasty treats are made, tour the historic interiors, and learn all about Veniero’s history from Robert.
When we point the finger at gentrifying neighborhoods, the East Village often gets a lot of heat thanks to its quickly climbing rents, shift from a more diverse population (today, roughly 40 percent of the ‘hood is between the ages of 20 and 34), and loss of small businesses. And though this final fact is certainly true, especially as it pertains to eateries (just this past year we said goodbye to Angelica Kitchen, The Redhead, and Lanza’s), the East Vill still has a wealth of independent restaurants that pay homage to its rich immigrant history as well as a crop of new establishments that are sensitive to the community and represent the new wave of foodie culture.
This weekend, two events will explore the past and future of the East Village through its food establishments–a walking tour led by 6sqft’s Senior Editor Dana Schulz for GVSHP will take you through the Italian, Ukrainian/Eastern European, and Indian history and A Taste of 7th Street will offer a self-guided chance to taste samplings from 10 local favorites.
Daily Link Fix: 25 Percent of Subways Are Late; Celebrate Veniero’s 120th Birthday with Free Cookies, Tue, December 16, 2014
- 25 percent of all subway trains are late, up 6 percent from last year. How ya feeling about that MTA price hike now? [Daily News]
- Legendary East Village Italian bakery Veniero’s is giving out free butter cookies to celebrate its 120th birthday on Thursday. [DNAinfo]
- The Living Christmas Tree Co. lets you rent live trees…we need to bring this to NYC. [Tree Hugger]
- Here’s a look at James Dean’s New York City bachelor pad from 1953. [Airows]
- Ten of NYC’s former prisons. [Untapped]