Historic Alleva Dairy in New York’s Little Italy Files for Bankruptcy

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They have a lot of debt.

A Manhattan delicatessen, known as the nation’s oldest cheese factory, has been forced to file for bankruptcy in a lawsuit over unpaid rent it owes, a spokeswoman for the store said Thursday.

Beloved 130-year-old mainstay Alleva Dairy in Little Italy filed for Chapter 11 on Tuesday following years of pandemic tourism starvation, according to store owner Karen King.

“Today is one of the saddest days in the 130-year history of this illustrious landmark in Little Italy,” King said in a statement after the filing. “We will continue to strive to keep Alleva Dairy alive.”

The store, which first opened on Grand and Mulberry streets in 1892, is at risk of closing due to $509,106 in rent it failed to pay during the pandemic, according to a lawsuit in justice filed in April by its owner.

A representative for the store, Terri Lynn, said Thursday that King had applied for government assistance to earn some much-needed cheddar cheese, and it was denied.

Karen King, owner of the Alleva Dairy-Cheese store, poses in front of her business.
Christopher Sadowski for NYPost

King has since repeatedly tried to work out a deal with Ellen Stabile Bench, whom she identified as the owner owner of the property, to no avail, she told the Post.

“She went to court four times to try to find an arrangement. She was prepared to give the landlord a substantial amount of back rent,” Lynn said. “She was raised to pay off her debts – and she’s trying to do that.”

The store recently launched a GoFundMe page called “Alleva Dairy,” which had brought in nearly $6,000 on Thursday – with some customers saying the cheese shop had melted their hearts over the years.

Alleva cheese sign

The King family has owned the business for over 100 years.


People eat, sit in front of the oldest cheese factory in America.

People eat and sit in front of the oldest cheese factory in America.


Tony Danza visits Alleva Dairy during the Feast of San Gennaro held in Little Italy in 2014.

Tony Danza visits Alleva Dairy during the Feast of San Gennaro held in Little Italy in 2014.


“God bless you,” wrote one fan.

The bench could not be reached for comment Thursday.

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