Historic Alleva Dairy in NYC’s Little Italy declares bankruptcy

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They gouda lotta debt.

A Manhattan deli known as the nation’s oldest cheese shop was forced to declare bankruptcy amid a lawsuit over the back rent it owes, a spokeswoman for the shop said Thursday.

The beloved 130-year-old mainstay, Alleva Dairy in Little Italy, filed for Chapter 11 Tuesday in the wake of the tourism-starved pandemic years, according to shop owner Karen King.

“Today is one of the saddest days in the 130-year history of this illustrious Little Italy landmark,” 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 in jeopardy of closing due to $509,106 in rent it failed to pay during the pandemic, according to a lawsuit filed in April by its landlord.

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

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

King has since tried repeatedly to strike a deal with Ellen Stabile Bench, who she identified as the landlord-owner of the property, to no avail, she told The Post.

“She’s been to court four times to try to work out an arrangement. She was willing 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.”

The shop recently launched a GoFundMe page dubbed “Save Alleva Dairy,” which had raked in nearly $6,000 by Thursday — with some customers saying the cheese shop has melted their hearts over the years.

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

People eat, sit outside of the oldest cheese shop in America.
People eat and sit outside of the oldest cheese shop in America.

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

“God Bless You,” one fan wrote.

Bench couldn’t be reached for comment Thursday.

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