Renowned chef David Beston recently discussed the success of Italian restaurants in New York.
New York is a city that appears to be obsessed with Italian food. In fact, it’s almost understood across the country that New Yorkers are inherently fans of Italian food. Renowned New York chef David Beston recently discussed the popularity and success of Italian food in New York and across the Northeast.
“Our Italian families brought their regional cuisines to the city, and that has greatly contributed to the diversity of Italian food in this city,” David Beston said. “Dishes from Sicily and Campania are some of the most popular, but a true connoisseur of Italian food can find something from nearly every region of Italy right here in New York.”
David Beston explained that New York’s obsession with Italian food dates all the way back to the 1800s. At this time, Italian food was considered exotic and typically hailed from regions of Northern Italy. The Italian restaurant scene at this time was costly and seen as high-end. That is, until the early 1900s when David Beston states the industry made a shift.
“In the early 1900s the Italian restaurant scene in the city made a major shift to what it is today,” David Beston said. “This is when the mom-and-pop Italian restaurants we all love began to appear throughout the city.”
David Beston explained that the desire for more affordable Italian cuisine is what brought about the images we imagine when we think of New York City Italian food, such as red and white checkered tablecloths and heaping plates of spaghetti and meatballs. This more quaint style of Italian dining is what David Beston claims created the Italian food obsession we see in New York today.
“In recent decades, we’ve seen this obsession become even stronger,” David Beston said. “This can be seen through the rising number of specialty stores offering Italian ingredients that were once difficult to find. It can also be seen in the sheer diversity of Italian food in the city. Other than visiting Italy, I’m not sure you can find more variety and authenticity anywhere else in the world.”
David Beston explained that now, in 2021, a New Yorker or visitor seeking Italian food can find everything from ultra-cheap pizza joints to Michelin-starred establishments. Everyone from the most experienced foodie to the budget-minded college kid can dine on delicious Italian food in New York City.
“Italian food is undeniably special,” David Beston said. “It’s rich in flavor and culture. Italian restaurants allow us New Yorkers to celebrate our Italian heritage through simple, delicious, and generally affordable food.”