I decided to combine these two locations to create a destination for adventurous eaters heading to the Bronx in search of Italian-American foods. I might start doing this more in the future as a way to make it more rewarding to visit the borough that gets the least reporting and love (even by me!). These two shops are next door to each other, and complimentary in all ways.
Marco's is a friendly meat store that also makes deli sandwiches and has a steam table with "home style cooking." While the steam table looks far from appetizing, the sandwiches are all very fresh and good value. The Italian combo ($7.50, below) is piled high with delicious cuts and topped with a sweet pepper mix that is out of this world.
Upon ordering a sandwich, they will grab a fresh loaf of bread and cut a big hunk off to make your creation. The shop also carries some dry goods including pasta and a small but effective selection of olive oils. I was here mid-afternoon and did not see much foot traffic, but the case of meat and cheese in the back looked very well stocked and had a good amount of variety.
I ate my dessert first when I visited, but the natural progression might seem to visit Conti's Pastry Shoppe after your lunch. Friendliness is taken to the extreme here, highlighted with deep New York accents, wood-paneled walls, and general level of comfort that goes with being taken care of. A small hodgepodge of chairs and a love seat can be found at the back of the shop, all of which could have been heisted from your grandparent's sitting room.
Pignoli cookies ($9/lb, below) are not the best in New York, but cheaper than you will find anywhere else. Add a small coffee for $1.35, and you have a pleasant way to enjoy a little time in one of grandma's chairs. It seems they even have wifi here, and if their network is not for the public, I would not be surprised if they share the password with you anyways.
Morris Park Avenue was sporting Albanian flags on the day of my visit, but I did not see any food from this country, which is better represented a bit to the north up near Lydig Avenue. A procession of cars full of Balkans screaming, honking, and waving flags drove by as I continued my walk afterwards, so I figured it must be a national holiday. It turns out it is a big week in the country, with the 28th of November being the anniversary of the independence from the Ottoman Empire. Unfortunately I was too full to walk up and enjoy some delicious burek.