For the low income undergraduate students of New York, the street corner bodega is a vital, and greatly undervalued, resource. Scattered across nearly every street corner of the neighborhood, these late-night establishments keep us going with the alluring promise of cheap snacks and untaxed booze. Seeing as Beer City is carding again, and how everybody loves a good countdown, we at The Ram Realm decided it was a good time for a Belmont bodega crash course. Here are the five best bodegas in the neighborhood. You’re welcome, Fordham.
5. UNIVERSITY GROCERY
Where: Fordham Rd, between Arthur Ave and Hoffman Ave
This place deserves a spot for its $1 ATM alone. Situated between University Pizza and a psychic readings business, University Grocery offers a variety of snacks, booze, and more of the standard bodega fare. Unique to this bodega is its variety of Poco Lokos, little miniature versions of the infamous full-sized Four Loko. I’m not sure who drinks Poco Loko, but most places don’t offer it, so nice job University. The only downside to this place is its hours; it’s usually closed after dark.
4. CASTILLO GROCERY
Where: 189th St and Arthur Ave
Ah, good ol’ Castillo. Filling out the forth corner of what is possibly the most walked block around, you can always count on someone nice and smiley to be working the counter. While there isn’t a full deli, you can buy an assortment of fried goods such as empanadas, papas rellenas (a fried ball of mashed potatoes with ground beef), and more! A great place to stop on your way back home from a night of partying.
3. STOP 1
Where: 188th St. and Hoffman Ave
Stop 1 doesn’t have the appreciation it deserves, mostly because it’s located a little ways away from the heavily trafficked Tri-bar (now Bi-bar?) area. The selection is actually a little better than average, with four rows of product and a healthy supply of Takis, possibly the best snack food ever made. The guys here are incredibly nice and won’t hesitate to strike up a conversation. Legend tells of cheap cigarettes.
2. HABIBI DELI GROCERY
Where: 187th St. and Hoffman Ave
If you’re looking for some cheap late night bodega food, Habibi is the place to go. Located across the street from the misleadingly named Nice Chinese food, what Habibi lacks in booze it makes up for in affordable sandwiches. The people who work there are also quite nice, and like its neighbor Stop 1, cigarettes are reportedly cheap.
1. BEATO DELI GROCERY, formerly Lazaro Deli Grocery
Where: 189th St and Hughes Ave
Speaking of cheap food, look no further than Beato when it comes to delicious fried goods. This bodega’s speciality is its selection of empanadas, which I’ll go so far as to call one of Belmont’s best kept secrets. With beef, chicken, or ham and cheese empanadas for only $1 each, you really can’t go wrong (just be sure to get some before they run out at dinner time). In addition to the other bodega basics (snacks, beer, etc), there’s also a little deli counter and a friendly overweight cat that likes to hang around. Keep up the good work, Beato.