Fight to save Little Italy's Alleva Dairy, U.S.'s oldest cheese shop

Jul 20, 2022 549

BY: Mac King

The Alleva family opened Alleva Dairy on Grand at Mulberry St. in 1892. "It was the first Italian cheese store in America," Alleva Dairy owner Karen King said. "My husband said to me: 'Don't ever let Alleva go.'" King and her husband Johnny Cha Cha -- of Goodfellas and Sopranos fame -- bought this cheese shop from Johnny's Alleva cousins before he died in 2015, leaving King to oversee this family business and Little Italy institution.

"We’re the heart of Little Italy," King said. Opened 130 years ago on the same corner of Mulberry and Grand where it now sits, Alleva Dairy's remained in the same family through five generations, but after King missed three months of rent payments at the beginning of the pandemic, she says her landlord sent her an eviction notice.

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