Philadelphia RowHome Magazine Winter 2024

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The Joy is in the


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INSIDETHIS ISSUE 18_ LIFE Post-Show Coverage! Our 2023 Blue Sapphire Awards The glitz, the glamor, the gala! photos by Andrew Andreozzi

32_ REAL ESTATE On the Block Ocean views, 3 decks & private elevator Lowest priced new construction in downbeach courtesy of Robin Mitchell

42_ THE MENU Food. Family. Traditions. Foods from the family archives Recipes from our readers, writers & PRH Business Network

58_ THE JOY IS IN THE JOURNEY The Switch House by Cescaphe Historic PECO plant on the Delaware hosts Volpe’s newest wedding venue & Hotel




73_ BRIDES GUIDE History of the Necktie Tying the knot for more than 700 years by John Nacchio




Rhythm and Blues Preservation Society Helping the arts thrive into the future by Geno Thackara




Uneeda Sign? Local artist has you covered by Anthony Panvini

90_ WRITERS BLOCK Out of Respect by Denise De Stefano Local author’s true account of growing up with secrets by Tony Santini





| ROWHOME MAGAZINE | January /February /March 2024




6_ FROM THE PUBLISHERS Let’s all pull together

10_ NEIGHBORHOOD NOIR 1969. 1800 block of S 19th Street, Tommy Muldoon, “The Pretzel Man”

12_ HANGIN’ OUT A toast to Traditions! Dixon House Reunion luncheon! Friends since the early ‘60s, these friends get together to remember the past & toast the future!

16_ LIFE RowHome Remembers Christmas Cookie Traditions by Tony Santini

30_ HEALTH An Unending Conversation with Hope Grief cannot be solved or fixed by Dorthi DiGilio

36_ REAL ESTATE 5 timeless designs that will never go out of style Courtesy of Cindy Rosario-Fetterman, Owner/Designer

41_ TIPS FROM THE PROS Space Heater Safety by Ron Rabena, Chief Client Officer, Allied Universal

68_ BRIDES GUIDE Anthony & Alana Retallick A microphone & memories at The Down Town Club by Joe Volpe

79_ MUSIC & ARTS Philly 45s Here Come the Sixers by Geno Thackara






96_ PRESSED The Best of PRESSED Looped by Dorette Rota Jackson


|||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||| |||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||| The Joy is in the Journey The Switch House by Cescaphe Historic PECO plant on the Delaware hosts Joe Volpe’s newest wedding venue & Hotel Producer / Director: Joan Roman Photographer: Shot By Barbuto Drone Team: Kim Players & Natalie Naylor PA: Luciano Oldrati


| ROWHOME MAGAZINE | January /February /March 2024



Family owned & operated since 2004 Mission Statement Our mission is to preserve the traditions, showcase the neighborhoods and promote the local businesses that strengthen the economy and improve the quaility of life for all of us. PRESIDENT | PUBLISHER


Dawn Rhoades EDITOR






Joseph Volpe

Northeast Cardiology Consultants, Inc.


Nazareth Hospital - Physicians Office Building 2701 Holme Avenue, Suite 105 Philadelphia, PA 19152

(215) 335 -4944



Andrew Andreozzi Phil Kramer Maria Merlino ACCOUNT MANAGER


Michael Rhoades CONTRIBUTORS Mark Casasanto Anthony Panvini David Cava Lou Pinto Joei DiSanto Michael Rhoades Frank DePasquale Jr., Esq Marialena Rago Victoria DiPietro Jane Roser Jamie Flowers Jade Rota Larry Gallone Debbie Russino Brett Jackson Charles Sacchetti Matt Kelchner Anthony Santini Maria Merlino Geno Thackara John Nacchio Dominique Verrecchio Vincent R. Novello, Jr. Robert “Woody” Woodard Stephen Pagano Joseph Myers

Exceptionally Built. Eternity of Beauty.

Published by Philadelphia RowHome Inc. P.O. Box 54786, Philadelphia, PA 19148 Phone – 215.462.9777 |

Philadelphia RowHome (PRH) Magazine and its contents are copyrighted. Content printed in the magazine may not be reproduced or reprinted, in whole or in part, by any other party without the expressed written consent of Philadelphia RowHome Magazine. 2024 Philadelphia RowHome Inc. All Rights Reserved. Printed in the USA. Published by Philadelphia RowHome Inc.

1721 E. Passyunk Avenue, Philadelphia, PA 19148 215.551.9070 January /February /March 2024



Let’s all pull together



It was our message when we started this magazine 20 years ago. It’s our message still. And one worth repeating! We are proud of our city. Of our South Philly neighborhoods that we’ve called home all our lives. Six generations that never strayed too far from the city blocks where they planted deep roots. We are proud of the history of our city. The food. The architecture. The lifestyles. The culture. We wanted to preserve the traditions and promote our neighborhoods by telling the stories. Your stories! Every issue of PRH focuses on the amazing people, places and things that reflect the memories of people who love this city as much as we do. Since we launched the first issue of Philadelphia RowHome Magazine in Spring of 2004, we have built a loyal network of readers, advertisers, business sponsors and collaborators – all willing to do whatever it takes to make this city shine. Together, we will strive to help one another and continue to build our community. Because we really are one. Now is the perfect time for you to join us! Be part of our 20th anniversary celebration. We promise it will be a lot of fun. So, stand and be counted! Let’s all pull together.


/ˈmiSH(ə)n/ noun A strongly felt aim, ambition, or calling.


| ROWHOME MAGAZINE | January /February /March 2024

PRH Mission Statement To preserve the traditions, showcase the neighborhood, and promote the local businesses that strengthen the economy and improve the quality of life for all of us.

Dorette & Dawn River to River. One Neighborhood.

Family Owned & Operated since 2004!

January /February /March 2024



DEAR PRH: What a fabulous night at the Blue Sapphire Awards this year! So fun! Grace Tirotti

DORETTE & DAWN: 1805-07 Washington Ave Philly, PA 19146 215.546.2233


I just wanted to say thank you for including me in the [Blue Sapphire Awards] celebration. You really know how to throw a party. Great seeing you both and congratulations on 20 years of RowHome! David Cava


W W W. C H I C K S P H I L LY. C O M Large selection of CRAFT BEERS available for Dine In or Take Out. Signature Cocktails. Wine. Spirits.


DORETTE & DAWN: That [Sapphire Awards] was fun! On behalf of the DeFino Family, thanks for a great night! It was a blast!

DEAR PRH: What a bash. Thanks for including us. This is a magnificent [Sapphire Awards] event. Be proud of all your Herculean efforts here. Michael Gillen

You outdid yourselves. Thank you. It [Sapphire Awards] was beautiful! Denise LaRosa

Q: Where can I get a copy of RowHome Magazine?

Order your

Subscription Today! Your next issue of PRH will be delivered right to your doorstep!

Call 215.462.9777

or subscribe online at gohomephil Thank you for being part of our RowHome family! Dorette & Dawn


| ROWHOME MAGAZINE | January /February /March 2024


The world needs your light


New Year

2024 Mark Lynch, Jr. Business Manager IBEW Local 98

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1972. Donna & An drea Angiolillo in Wildw ood.












October 1954 . Pocono Mou ntains Honeymoon fo r Nancy & Pe te Santini.


JANUARY | FEBRUARY | MARCH 2024 1. Denise LaRosa & Co. at Via Locusta.

15. Andrew Bednarek is hangin’ out at Stogie Joe’s watching the Eagles game.

2. The Anastasi grandchildren, nieces, and nephews at their annual Christmas Cookie Baking gathering.

16. Ken Adams congratulates our new Mayor, Cherelle Parker. Mayor Parker was recently elected as the 100th Mayor of Philadelphia and is the first woman to hold the position.

3. Smedley Street “Friends not Neighbors” celebrate with Michael & Dominique Rhoades at their wedding reception at The Water Works by Cescaphe.



4. Anthony Fanty is hangin’ out at the Bocce Club for the annual fall get-together of SSPG (Still South Philly Guys). Some of these friendships started in the 1st grade & are going strong still! 5. William Penn Charter’s 2013 Girls Soccer Team recently was inducted into the school’s Athletic Honor Society. The team was the first girls soccer team from the school to capture both the Inter-AC League and PAIST State titles with an impressive 20-2-1 record along the way. 6. Kareem Kabia is hangin’ out with RowHome! 7. Hangin’ out with Danny & Denise Vanore, who recently celebrated their 39th wedding anniversary. 8. Happy Anniversary to Lisa & Ed Costello, who celebrated 35 years on October 8th.


9. RowHome’s On the Corner Mark & his Imperial Events Security Services team were responsible for everyone’s safety at 2023’s City Hall Tree Lighting Ceremony. Pictured here with Mark and his security partner, Yousef Kassis, is headliner, 2007 American Idol Winner & Grammynominated, Jordin Sparks. 10. Eileen & Amile DeRose, Marie Elena Abbruzzi & Denise LaRosa are hangin’ out at Stogie Joe’s.


11. Hangin’ out at the 2300 Arena with Michael Rhoades, Arena owner Roger Artigiani, Antonio Congialdi & Christian Artigiani. 12. Donna Lamaine with husband Tom Lamaine, who was honored recently as the 2023 Person of the Year by the Broadcast Pioneers of Philadelphia. 13. RowHome Carol is hangin’ out with her sister Loretta Gillen & friend Teri Lombardo.

4 12 | ROWHOME MAGAZINE | January /February /March 2024

14. The Postiglione family at Union Trust.

17. (l-r / Back Row) Joe “Jo Jo” Moscariello, Dante “Danny Check” Panichio, Mike Griffin, Mike “Bomber” Turchi, Chucky Turchi, John “Johnny Yokes” Pellegrino. (l-r / Front Row) Chris “Stew” Stewart, Chuck Stewart & Steve “Mashew” Michelli are hangin’ out at Nitty’s for a Dixon House Reunion luncheon. These friends since the early ‘60s get together as often as possible to remember the past & toast to the future. 18. Ricky Baccari is doing his thing at Stogie Joe’s. Jimmy Post is in the background. 19. Cheers to 17 years! A pre-program toast before the annual Blue Sapphire event at Vie with Dawn, Dorette & MC Mark Casasanto! 20. Tankie’s Tavern owner Salvatore DiNubile with Ciarra Bianculli, Jimmy Waters & Frank Criniti. 21. Jean Carne, PRH’s 2023 Blue Sapphire Award winner, is hangin’ out with longtime fan Anthony Fanty at RowHome’s annual Awards Dinner at Vie by Cescaphe. 22. Dedicating the completion of the All 4 One Memorial at 18th & Bigler Streets. Back row (l-r): Bruce Harrison, Jim Barrett, Chip Roach, Mike Bucknell, Syd & Will Bett. Middle row: Tom Keeley, Ray Maine. Front row: Frank G. Criniti & Commander Bill Simpson. The dress Marine on the far right next to the flag is Lance Corporal Anthony Morina with his service dog. Morina brothers Anthony & Sam contributed time and materials. Photo by Maria Merlino 23. St. John Neumann Class of ‘83 celebrates 40 years of brotherhood at IATSE Ballroom by Anthony’s Caterers. 24. Friends & Family from Epiphany School are hangin’ out on Thanksgiving Day at Marconi Plaza for the 50th Annual Turkey Bowl. Also in the photo is Ellen Kolodziej from the Fox 29 Philadelphia News team.









15 17 13









24 January /February /March 2024 | ROWHOME MAGAZINE | 13






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hastise me if you will, but the very beginnings of this column were written as I sat sobbing in a pew at St. Monica Church after paying my respects to a dear friend who passed away much too young. As I removed myself to a quiet space in the rear of the church to await the start of the Mass, I allowed my inner being to take me away. I found my solace nestled in the treasured memories of our young adult years as we navigated life and most importantly, lived it to the fullest. Tears of sadness soon turned to joy as I reflected on 40 years of friendship. Time waits for no one. I hold steadfast to the belief that if you have something to say to someone, you best say it. Bucket List? Cool concept if it works for you. Personally, I prefer carpe diem. Life will fly by as you’re watching Jeopardy from your couch or dreaming about something that may never come. Making memories…that falls on you. I have never been a big gift giver. It has nothing to do with money, rather everything to do with the time and anxiety of getting it right. Like my father before me, I’d much rather crack open a bottle of “dago red,” get some food on the table and eat, drink, laugh and sing until it’s time to go… whenever and wherever that might be. As my children grow older and their own relationships flourish, so do their responsibilities to work, home, family, and fur babies. It’s not easy pleasing two sets of parents around the holidays. Throw in a divorced pair and it complicates it even more! With that, it’s ultra-difficult to get everyone in one spot at one time. Well, at least without a virtual fistfight and plenty of agita. Capitalizing on the fact I have a December birthday five days out from Christmas, a perfect storm of can dos churned in my head a few years back. If everyone could free up two or three days surrounding my birthday, we’ll

agree on something unique and fun to do. I’ll cover the expenses and it’s Merry Christmas to all and to all, a few good nights! Keeping with that theme set forth by my dad long ago, off we went. Billy Joel at Madison Square Garden started us off. Due to a last-minute show cancellation last December because of illness, we’ve been on ice for a year. But show 97 of a 100-show residency was worth the wait and it did not disappoint. Chock full of Christmas Carols, surprise guests and lots of groovin’ in ‘the garden!’ Next up, Becco! I don’t know if a birthday dinner could be any better than a bella notte with my children and their significant others enjoying great food and ambiance. After years of watching Lidia Bastianich create culinary classics on television, to be able to partake in a festive, yet relaxed atmosphere was amazingly satisfying. Dinner aside, my dessert, Zabaglione de Sangue di Giuda, now occupies a spot on the best thing I have ever eaten list! Rounding out this three-day birthday getaway to Manhattan, I surprised the dad squad with a trip to see Philly guy, Michael D’Armi, at LTD Pizza. Chef Mike is hitting the Big Apple square in the eye with his perfect pizza pies! And yes, that’s amore! As the son of a popular retired South Philadelphia Catholic School teacher, and he, the former personal chef of Yankee’s superstar, Aaron Judge, knows a thing or two about food and family. Nestled in the newly minted Hudson Square neighborhood, his pizza and wine bar is a “vibe.” Frankly, if we didn’t have multiple granddogs to retrieve, we might still be folding his gourmet slices in half and pounding them down South Philly style! Don’t blink. Life is short, my friends. Sometimes, it takes a little creative effort and spontaneity when it can’t come together as we naturally expect. PRH

“It all depends upon your appetite…”

January /February /March 2024


RowhomePRH Remembers Life


COOKIE Traditions by Tony Santini


his is a story of two families with similar traditions though many years apart. Christmas baking has always been a tradition with many families and especially with Italian families in South Philly row homes. Two very close friends of mine had, or currently have, Christmas baking traditions that may be like those of many of our readers. For Maria Altobello, Christmas cookies were always a special treat, compliments of her cousin, Mary Sorge,


who always baked extra and shared trays with the rest of the family. Unfortunately, Mary passed away at a young age, leaving her widowed mother Grace behind. After Mary passed, Maria and another cousin, Donnie Salvatore, thought it would put a smile on Aunt Grace’s face if they gathered at her house and baked the same cookies Mary made for years. They even would use Mary’s baking utensils along with her recipes. A new family tradition began – one that lasted from 1995 through 2018. Every year, Maria and Donnie met at Aunt Grace’s house at 1051 Daly Street, where they would bake from early morning to dinnertime. They always kept a photo of Mary close to where they prepped. Before long, other cousins joined them, including Joyce Salvatore DelConte, Barbara Fratto Williamson and the respective aunts and mothers, Rita Alto-


bello, Philamena Fratto, Jane Salvatore and, of course, Aunt Grace, as you can see in the photo. The day usually began around 9 am with coffee, catching up, then reminiscing, followed by the baking of the butter cookies and maybe a few other Italian specialties using Mary’s cookie cutters and presses. They also baked batches of chocolate chip cookies from scratch. The only break came around noon when someone walked across the street to get “Church Pizza” from New York Bakery. At around 5 pm, they distributed the cookies among the aunts and cousins using tins that had been in the family for years. They’d make trays for family and friends who weren’t there, then have a family Christmas toast with the leftover Anisette and Amaretto. Maria joyfully recalls, “Being with my mother, cousins and dearest aunts, and seeing the sparkle in Aunt Grace’s eyes as she reminisced about Mary while we continued to use her

| ROWHOME MAGAZINE | January /February /March 2024

recipes in the baking of the Christmas cookies, are memories which I will have for a lifetime.” For Michele Anastasi, the tradition of baking Christmas cookies as a family goes back to when she and her sister Denise were just nine and eight years old. They gathered with their mother and grandmother each year to bake. Those memories never faded and new memories were made when she continued the tradition with her children. When the grandchildren started popping up, Michele decided that it was time to revise an old tradition by starting a new one and the Christmas Cookie Baking Day started up, again. The guests include her children, her husband, and her brother-in-law, however, the primary bakers for the day are Michele’s grandchildren, nieces, and nephews, who all participate in the theme-inspired event. The day usually begins around 1 pm and doesn’t finish until around 7 pm. While the parents of the grandchildren are aware of the theme, the kids themselves don’t know until they arrive at Michele’s house, where they get the outfits, props, utensils, bakeware, and ingredients needed for the day. This year’s theme was “The Gingerbread Man.” When they arrive, everyone gets dressed up in the themed clothing chosen for the cookie

bake. They then proceed to the kitchen where they get their matching hats and aprons. When the cookies are done baking, they decorate them with icing, sprinkles, and special candies based on the theme. “Over the years, we have made all kinds of cookies including butter, pecan crescent, filled, and everyone’s favorite - chocolate chip,” Michele says. “In between the baking, the kids play Christmas games, do Christmas puzzles, listen to Christmas music, and read Christmas stories especially, The Legend of the Candy Cane. Everyone spends time together, laughing, chatting, drinking, and eating their favorite food. When the baking is finished, all the kids get matching Christmas PJs to wear for their annual Cousin’s Christmas photo. It is one of my favorite days of the year! With everyone’s busy schedules, I consider this a blessing when we gather to create a beautiful memory in a joy-filled room. I know, in my heart, that this family tradition will carry on for a long time!” I know that Maria and Michele’s past and present Christmas Cookie Baking has some similarities to memories of my past with my grandmother, mother, and my children. I hope their stories jogged some memories for you, as well. PRH



NEW YORK BAKERY Located in the heart of South Philly, we’ve been providing the neighborhood & surrounding area with quality service for more than 90 years.

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The Beach & Broad Street

Stephen Candeloro Owner

Family Traditions Worth Preserving photo by Kevin Burkett

If I could preserve one family tradition to pass on to my children and grandchildren, what would it be? My immediate thought was our beach week. But, as I watch the Mummers Parade on television, the one tradition I wish I was able to preserve would be the Mummers marching up Broad Street. Every year growing up, we kicked off the new year standing with family at the same spot of pavement between Porter and Shunk Streets. Spending all day at the Mummers Parade was easy as a kid since my grandmother lived at 2524 S. Broad Street. The soup, chocolate, and dogs were always hot. When that house was sold, we moved our parade post across the street to my aunt’s Broad Street house. When my aunt passed, we walked to the Mummers Parade from my grandmother’s house at 10th & Oregon. When my grandmother passed, we imposed on the Stolfo family on Broad Street whenever we needed a bathroom and a bowl of soup. Or just a comfy place to warm up. My kids were small when that tradition died and the memories will live on with me, my siblings, and cousins. But not really with my children. Kicking off the year with family, food, dancing, and music on the streets of Philly was nothing short of magical. Who wouldn’t want to preserve that?. PRH

The Ferullo Insurance Agencies LLC has your best interests in mind. At the Ferullo Insurance Agencies LLC it’s not just our job to help guide you to a future worth looking forward to, it’s our passion. The way we see it, putting you first means understanding your needs and making sure you get coverage at the right price.


LET’S TALK TODAY. John Ferullo 1636 S FRONT ST PHILADELPHIA, PA 19148 215-468-4116





Products underwritten by Nationwide Mutual Insurance Company and Affiliated Companies. Home Office: Columbus, OH 43215. Life insurance is issued by Nationwide Life Insurance Company or Nationwide Life and Annuity Insurance Company, Columbus, Ohio. Nationwide, Nationwide Is On Your Side, and the Nationwide N and Eagle are service marks of Nationwide Mutual Insurance Company. ©2020 Nationwide CPC-0435AO (09/17) 12071560

January /February /March 2024



affair an





Sponsored by CESCAPHE at VIE photos by ANDREW ANDREOZZI

hiladelphia RowHome Magazine is a unique collection of the finest local businesses around. It represents people from all walks of life that embody the work ethic and pride that built our city of neighborhoods. An Affair to Remember is a night to celebrate our accomplishments. A time to enjoy the company of friends and colleagues – people we recognize and those we have yet to meet. Thank you for joining us on our mission to support our local businesses. And thank you for making our city of neighborhoods a place we are proud to call home. Because – as we all agree – there’s no place like home. And there’s no place like RowHome to keep those memories alive.


Philly PRH thanks the following Sponsors The Business

Cescaphe Event Group, Joe & Andrea Volpe 375 Park Avenue Spirits Farina DiVita

Andrew Andreozzi Photography Beautiful Blooms

Bella Angel Bridal Hair & Makeup

Beth Moylan, Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Billy Lanzilotti, South Philly Votes DeFino Law Associates, P.C. Denise LaRosa & Co.

DePasquale Law Offices DJ Sound & Lighting Dougherty Electric EMR Trucking

EOM Athletic Association


amily & Friends of City F Councilmember Mark Squilla

amily & Friends of Declan Cassidy, F Socks for the Streets Gamble Huff Entertainment IBEW Local 98, Mark Lynch Jr., Business Manager Joan Roman & Crew Ken Adams, Jack Duggan’s Pub/PHL Int Airport Lou Pinto, South Philly Born & Raised Mangia Rewards Mario Tropea Jr. & the Dream Team, Keller Williams Mark Squilla Monti-Rago Funeral Home Moonshine Mummers Museum P. Agnes, Inc. Patty Jackson, WDAS-FM Pat’s Steaks Philadelphia Parking Authority

| ROWHOME MAGAZINE | January /February /March 2024

PHL Builders & PHL Athletics

Rev. Joseph Kelley & St. Monica Parish Roger Artigiani, 2300 Arena Rudi’s Formal Wear 1600 Spruce Street

SLR Construction, Salvatore Rota

South Philadelphia Business Association @shotbybarbuto

Stolfo Funeral Home

String Theory Schools The Cutting Point

The Family of Edward J. McBride The Riverwards Group

Troast-Singley Insurance Agency United Savings Bank

UNIVEST Bank & Trust Co.

Vincent Gangemi Funeral Home, Inc. Vincent Novello Contracting

2023 BLUE SAPPHIRE AWARD WINNERS All great accomplishments begin with a dream

Sonny Conto

Future Leaders Award

Angela Corosanite

Leaders in Education Award

Patty Jackson

Music Entertainment Award

Jean Carne

Lifetime Music Achievement Award The DeFino Family

Local Business Success Story Award

Vincent A. DeFino, Esq. Honorable

Rose Marie DeFino-Nastasi Michael A. DeFino, Esq. Mark Squilla

Edward J. McBride Service to Community Award


Anything is possible if you believe in yourself

Declan Cassidy Socks for the Streets A special Thank You to

KEN ADAMS, DUGGAN’S PUB, PHL INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT For his ongoing support of our WishRock Awards Program

“All great accomplishments begin with a dream.” January /February /March 2024



| ROWHOME MAGAZINE | January /February /March 2024

Guests in attendance donated socks to benefit Declan Cassidy’s Socks for the Streets, a nonprofit organization that supports our neighbors in need. A special thank you to the students and faculty of String Theory Schools for their generous donation of socks to support Declan’s mission. Master of Ceremonies

Mark Casasanto Entertainment

The Business Trophy Presenter

Jade Rota Locascio Photography

Andrew Andreozzi Videography / Red Carpet Interviews

Joan Roman Joe Barbuto Luciano Oldrati Hair

The Cutting Point Tuxedos

Rudi’s Formal Wear Blue Sapphire Signature Cocktails

375 Park Avenue Spirits Pasta Bar

Farina di Vita Sound / Video

DJ Sound & Lighting





2023 Black Tie Business Networking Gala sponsored by Cescaphe

January /February /March 2024



by chef Mitzi Jackson-Robinson


Entrepreneur Life We All Get Scared


Welcome to Chef MJ’s Corner, where we feature stories about food, nutrition, health, the latest trends, hotspots, and stories that give inspiration to each reader. You know my motto, “Food is a segue into intimate conversation! So, take a load off and let’s get intimate.” Lately, I’ve been speaking with a lot of small business owners and the common narrative is that they get more support from strangers than they do their own families, making it hard to find a work-life balance. They also talk about the fact that their business seems to be at a standstill and how scary that is as an entrepreneur. Wow. Let’s repeat that. My business is at a standstill, and I have no support from my family. Yeah, sounds pretty scary to me, too. In this article, I’m going to address the top things I do or have done to shake these feelings during my life as an entrepreneur.

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| ROWHOME MAGAZINE | January /February /March 2024

Define support What does support from your family look like and have a discussion with them about it. Our family may not be part of our target audience, so we can’t always expect them to buy the product. However, they may be able to support us in other ways. Being there to listen on the hard days or helping you spread the word to potential customers. Chat with them and see what works best for everyone.

Check your strategy Determine why your business seems to be on hold. Is it financial? Is it competition? Have you defined your niche? Not doing an analysis of your

business can stop you from knowing how to move forward. Sit back and take a glance. Is there anything you need to do differently?

Social media check Does your social media define your business? Can people see it and understand what you offer? I had to take a long look at my social media, including consulting with a professional to make sure that I was getting my point across. I knew I wasn’t the best at this. One thing you have to do as a business owner is know when to reach out for help. You won’t be good at everything.

Have a vision Where do you see your business in six months? One year? Five years? Define what that looks like and set goals.

Have faith No one is going to take you seriously if you don’t. Be confident, even on slow days. On the slow days, I reflect on the busy days and how I got there. If you’re not a great salesperson, maybe you need to hire one. Many successful business owners said that their first employee was a salesperson. If you can’t afford to hire one, brush up on your sales skills and see what you can do differently. Remember, all business owners have scary times. However, you can control that narrative. It’s all in your mind. Use this time to fuel your fire to the next level in 2024. Don’t listen to the negativity. You can do it. All you need is a little faith and some good work ethic. Chef Mitzi Jackson-Robinson is a member of the Philadelphia RowHome (PRH) Magazine Business Network.



Vintage, Valuable, Unusual or Collectable Vintage Cigarette Cases are a Quick & Easy Sell by Dominique Verrecchio


ood’s Vintage in the historic South 9th Street Italian Market prides itself in selling amazing vintage pieces, furniture, jewelry, clothing and more. With an eye for all things unique, the shop’s owner and buyer Keith Allibone, along with staff members Anthony Risolio and Rosa Mesbahi, sat down with PRH to talk about the store’s history, their amazing finds over the last decade, and their future plans.


Q: Where did the passion for vintage goods come from? Keith Allibone: I grew up around this stuff. My dad did cleanouts and would sell his finds at flea markets in New Jersey. There are photos of me as an infant in front of his setup, selling mahogany furniture in the sunshine. I can still smell the Old English. I followed many career paths, learning skills that I use to this day in this business. I was a young realtor during the real estate crash of ’07-’08. My dad saw me struggling and suggested I try buying and selling vintage


as a career. I took to it like a duck to water. I was operating solo for a few years…just a man with a van. I would buy from estate sales, yard sales, trash-pick and buy from collectors. I started selling to dealers with shops and one day, I thought, I could do this. We did a pop-up in the Italian Market that was successful, and the rest is history. We’ve been running Good’s Vintage for almost 10 years now. Q: What are some vintage trends that you’ve been noticing? Anthony Risolio: Silver rings are always a big seller; they complement any outfit, and they are financially accessible in a way that gold tends not

| ROWHOME MAGAZINE | January /February /March 2024

to be. True vintage costume jewelry! Mainly pieces coming from household names like Christian Dior, Givenchy, or the less couture but still renowned Ciner, have been pulling focus both from our buyer and our shoppers. These pieces tend to be gold-toned, using real gold plating or filling, and sturdy as hell. You see a quality with jewelry like this that is hard to come by. I hate to be that guy, but things truly aren’t made like they used to be! Rosa Mesbahi: I recently saw a post online bemoaning the price ($715) for a pair of gold toned, not even filled or plated, Louis Vuitton earrings. Unique, vintage art is very in, right now. People are always looking for that one special piece to decorate their walls with, too. There is something special about finding a piece that is one of one and only yours. Vintage and thrift in general have been peaking for maybe the last five years. There has been an uptick in a more circular

and intentional clothing economy. Q: What do you look for when it comes to buying/selling? KA: I look for things that are vintage, valuable, unusual, or collectable. Anything that I think is beautiful, cool, useful, or resealable. Shiny things that have a story, a feel, or some soul to them. Q: What have people been asking about/ buying this season? AR: People have been showing interest in taxidermy, recently, and we are here for it! I used to think that taxidermy was for hunters and wilderness enthusiasts, but it feels like taxidermy is anyone’s game. People from all walks of life have been asking us about it and it’s a lot of fun, honestly. The taxidermy we come across is never what we expect. Alligator heads, starfish, bear and

cougar heads, and ducks, just to name a few. RM: Recently, we get asked a lot about vintage cigarette cases. People aren’t smoking cigarettes at the same rate as when these were being produced, but they make for a very fashionable wallet alternative. Vintage cigarette cases are a quick and easy sell. Q: What are some of your most unique finds over the years? KA: I found a Tiffany smoking stand in a metal scrapyard. I found a Louis Vuitton trunk in a project building in Camden. I found gold coins in a crumpled up brown paper bag mixed in with pennies and nickels. I guess I remember the unexpected finds. Q: What is your favorite item that has ever come through the doors? KA: A rare 18k gold and opal Tiffany stick pin. It sold for $3500.

able to organize, hold, and contribute to over the past few years. I joined the team two years ago to take over social media management and assist Jana with content direction and creation. Austin Frazier is the newest addition to the team. Along with e-commerce, Austin’s main focus is to manage and curate operations at THE ANNEX, along with me. Q: Tell me about THE ANNEX! What kind of products are you featuring there? RM: THE ANNEX, next door, is the newest venture of Good’s Vintage. We started to branch out into the world of fine art and wares and realized that we needed another space to stage these items in a way they deserved. The idea with this space is to combine gallery, showroom, and retail vibes. The main thing separating THE ANNEX from Goods Vintage is a more discerning eye. We still keep a laid-back atmosphere, though. We want it to feel like you’re coming into your grandma’s house, a bit. But your grandma was a chic New York art collector in her youth. Cozy and cool are the vibes for sure. We’ve also been experimenting with featuring local artists on a rolling two-month schedule. Q: What is your favorite story that you have about your store? KA: We had a party once and got a dunk tank delivered to the front of the store. Right on 9th Street! There were a lot of wet shorts that day. So much fun.

Q: How has Good’s Vintage become an important spot in the Italian Market area? RM: I feel like the vibe of the market is very thrifty and vintage, so our being there makes sense. It is interesting being a vintage shop in this location because we are the only one, aside from Molly’s, which specializes mostly in books and records (shoutout Molly’s!). Though we’ve been in the market for about 10 years now, we still get Philadelphians who wander in thinking we just opened. The market is so busy, it’s easy to miss stuff. AR: A lot of our shoppers come in toting grocery bags. We’re often a place that people stop in while breaking up their errands. There’s also the idea that you can kind of find anything in the Italian Market and I think our shop adds to the quirky allure and ethos of the market itself. Q: Who else helps operate the store? RM: We’re a small team of six. Four of us man the desks. Jana Schreer has been instrumental in the growth of the business over the last four years, joining the team during Covid. She was able to use her photography and design skills to rebrand and reinvigorate our online commerce and presence. All of our design work, on the website and on Instagram, comes from the mind and talents of Jana. Anthony joined the team about three years ago and has become the de facto shop manager. On top of day-to-day operations, he has been the driving force behind many of the events that we’ve been

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Q: How do you think the vintage goods market has changed in the past five years? KA: The newer generation, not surprisingly, has stepped away from traditional design and leaned into more fun shapes and funky colors. Q: Where do you see your store in the next five years? KA: We’re going to open another location locally and then one in NYC. We will add on some auxiliary services like cleanouts and possibly storage, too. We want to expand our online store with more exotic picks, as well as a more robust shopping experience. Stay tuned. Shop online at and find out how you can sell with them. Follow along on Instagram @goodsvintage. PRH Good's Vintage is a member of the Philadelphia RowHome (PRH) Magazine Business Network.

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Switch from lotion to cream for added moisture by Dr. Ha Linh Vu, Board-Certified Dermatologist provider at Dermatology Partners

Protecting your skin from the elements during the winter months is just as important as it is in the summer months. For most people, the winter air dries out their skin. This is particularly true on your face and hands. As the humidity level in the environment drops in the winter, so does the water content of your skin. Low humidity levels coupled with increased indoor heating can result in rough, itchy, and flaky skin. Here are some of my tips for winter skin care, but it is always a good idea to contact your dermatologist if you would like help developing an individualized treatment plan specific to your skin needs.

the shower or after washing your face. Do this every day – especially if you are spending time outdoors.

Transition to a WinterFriendly Moisturizer.

Even though the winter days are shorter, and the sun does not feel as strong as summer months, sunscreen is just as important. UVA and UVB radiation can damage your skin all year long, permeating through windows and the windshield of your car. Apply a broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher to all exposed skin every day


Winter Skin Care

Winter is the time to transition from lotion to cream moisturizers as these formulations have more hydrating oils. This is true for both your body and your face. Consider adding a hydrating serum containing hyaluronic acid before applying your face moisturizer. The best time to apply is after

- face (do not forget the ears), neck, chest, and the back of your hands.

Remember Your Lips! Avoid Taking Hot Baths or Showers. Although they are soothing in the wintertime, water that is too hot can break down the lipid barrier in your skin, leading to a loss of moisture. The best temperature for baths and showers is lukewarm or room temperature. If you are taking a bubble bath, consider including oatmeal or bath oils to add moisture into the skin as you soak. This will help soothe your skin and prevent itchiness.

Sunscreen Is Not Just for the Summer.

It is important to keep your lips moisturized during the winter. To help exfoliate the lips, use a lip scrub once or twice a week, followed by a moisturizing lip balm. When outdoors, use a lip balm with SPF of 30 or higher. While these tips are a good starting point for winter skin care, everyone’s skin needs are different. Ha Linh Vu, MD, PhD is a board-certified dermatologist who practices medical, surgical, and cosmetic dermatology in patients of all ages. She has a special interest in the treatment of skin cancer. Learn more about Dr. Vu by visiting or call (888) 895-3376 to schedule an appointment with her in our South Philly office, 1930 S. Broad St, Suite 21, Philadelphia, PA 19145. Dermatology Partners is a member of the Philadelphia RowHome (PRH) Magazine Business Network.

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Fullness of Heart

Dr. Santosh Gupta-Bala brings considerable compassion to CCP

by Joseph Myers


ore than 7,300 miles separate New Delhi, India, from Philadelphia. Though the literal distance between her birthplace and where she learned to practice medicine is quite colossal, there is zero gap between the start of her professional journey decades ago and where she is today.


More than 26 years into fruitful employment with the Cardiology Consultants of Philadelphia (CCP), the gregarious Dr. Santosh GuptaBala always has maintained that a great bedside manner and curiosity about her field’s future win the day in helping her to enrich the lives. “When I was beginning rotations, so much appealed to me,” Gupta-Bala says, speaking about her education at Medical College of Pennsylvania where she also completed residency and a fellowship in cardiology. “I loved the comprehensive nature of intensive care, and I loved the emergency room. Eventually, cardiology became my path to follow.” Since 1997, she has served as a dutiful upholder of the Hippocratic Oath for CCP, with “wonderful patients” currently seeing her comforting disposition at work through four locations and rounds at Jefferson Methodist Hospital. No matter where she reports, with Methodist as a boon because its neighborhood furthers her connection to South Philly’s “amazing

culture, restaurants, and sports scene,” Gupta-Bala treasures having an integral part in preserving the cardiac welfare for individuals and families. “I’m someone who cares about assisting others and furthering their understanding that we all need to be educated to keep ourselves feeling well,” the 63-year-old says. “I value individualizing my approach and staying aware of advances, including state-of-the-art therapies. I’ve heard that I’m such a nerd for keeping up with these changes as much as I do, but learning is part of what makes my job the greatest.” One does not need to be overly scholarly to know and implement practices that will keep our hearts in optimal shape, although, as GuptaBala knows, staying loyal to those methods can prove difficult. High blood pressure, elevated cholesterol, and diabetes are as diligent at compromising health as she is in solidifying it. And so, she advocates for abandoning a penchant for seeking quick fixes to problems and paying crucial attention to what we put

into our bodies and feed our minds. “Smoking, of course, is another nuisance,” she says, noting the benefits to stopping at any age when someone conquers cravings. “We need to aim to stay active and maintain a healthy weight, too.” Providing sound advice and remaining abreast of pioneering peers’ work to enhance patient care, offset the ultra-busy nature of her calling and remind her of how thrilling a position she has. Gupta-Bala especially enjoys having earned the trust of patients who have recommended kin to her or brought family members to receive her tutelage and compassion. Those gifts have led to an abundance of praise from people who are grateful to have interacted with her. But the humble doctor will never concern herself more with notes, letters, and cards than she will with atria, valves, and ventricles. “It’s such a delicate instrument,” she said of the heart. “I want for people to live full lives where they can have the freedom to plan for the next five, 10, 20 years.” To promote said independence, Gupta-Bala believes her holistic approach to medicine, through which people consider their whole identity as a reflection of overall health,

helps them to realize that although the process can be time-consuming, it is going to be life-preserving. In other words, the more we invest in ourselves, the more moments we will be able to share with others. As for the future of her field, Gupta-Bala predicts there will be more of a shift to outpatient procedures and that transcatheter aortic valve replacement will become even more of a game changer for heart valve failure efforts. When not helping patients strengthen their hearts, she is giving hers to pursuits like riding her bike, cooking, walking, watching basketball, keeping connected to her culture, and reveling in her family, namely, husband Ravi, whom she dubbed “my North Star,” and sons Vikram and Tejas. While loving her residence in Blue Bell, she looks forward to travel opportunities that the new year will present. “I’m very happy,” Gupta-Bala said of her connections to CCP and Philadelphia. “I’ve met so many great people, and I expect to meet many more.” PRH Cardiology Consultants of Philadelphia (CCP) is a member of the Philadelphia RowHome (PRH) Magazine Business Network.

January /February /March 2024




An Unending Conversation with

Shame dies when your story is told in a safe place

by Dorthi DiGilio


ith the holiday season behind us, it is time to focus on New Year resolutions. “New year, new you.” Right? The irony is that this is the hardest time of year to muster motivation. With the shortest, darkest, coldest days ahead of us, we naturally want to hibernate. Despite good

intentions, most resolutions fail. Don’t fret. The reality is that we can vow to make changes and commit to healing on any given day. Many of us do. Many are not given a choice. Every day, someone out there is starting over, taking their first step towards living in a new world because their previous life no longer exists. My experience with those dealing with the loss of a loved one, and in recovery from alcohol and drug addiction, has been profound. Your story may include divorce, the loss of a career, illness, and the list goes on. Although these scenarios are radically different, they share numerous and unexpected similarities. When someone is pushed out of the “assumptive world” into a universe completely changed, and in many cases, out of their control, they feel as though they are at the bot-


tom of the tallest mountain without the means or the strength to begin climbing. The journey ahead seems insurmountable and dark. Even minor life changes, like resolutions, are born of regret. Too much eating, too much spending. Some of the same obstacles prevail like falling into old behaviors and giving into self-doubt. Be curious about what is driving this way of life and what is blocking your transformation. Rebuilding is a process that takes time. Ten years plus into my journey, the work I do is lovingly dedicated to the memory of my son Dean. As I am given the opportunity to observe and encourage growth and healing, I continue to heal and learn. When in such a fragile place, grab onto hope. Seek hope. Although at times we don’t see it, it is always present. Sometimes, we are unknow-

| ROWHOME MAGAZINE | January /February /March 2024

ingly carried by hope. We cannot heal or recover alone and isolated. Connecting with others and asking for help is as crucial as it is brave. Even with smaller aspirations, you can team up with a friend to create togetherness and accountability. Change is challenging. Do it together. When learning to live after your world has been turned inside out or has become unhealthy to your mind, body, and spirit, the secondary issues that surface are unanticipated. When stories include trauma and unresolved grief, we must care for old wounds or they will continue to surface in self-destructive ways. Guilt and regret need to be worked through with compassion. Remember, shame dies when your story is told in a safe place. Self-forgiveness is necessary and enables us to move forward with grace. Even with smaller life adjustments, you must reconcile the good with the bad. Working on self-worth is also essential to our new existence. “No one ever told me that grief felt so much like fear.” Many must

work to overcome vast layers of fear before they can even begin. Remember, hope is stronger than fear. The restoring process changes us down to our souls. We become deeper and more compassionate. We emerge authentic versions of ourselves with a strong need to stay true to our new selves. Even with smaller undertakings, our values create our intentions. Realistic goals and a good action plan can help create newness. You may have never thought about the amount of courage required for some to face a new day. My intent today is to offer inspiration for whatever goal or dream you have, whether large or small. By sharing the fortitude and resiliency I have witnessed, I affirm that anything is possible. Make the commitment today, knowing you are worth it, and always stay focused on hope. Please reach out if you need help with your grief. Email me at Visit my website PRH Thank you for listening!

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| ROWHOME MAGAZINE | January /February /March 2024

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Scent-sational Spring Transform your Home with Fragrance


Courtesy of Richard Eib, Malmaison Luxe Bougie As the days grow longer and nature begins to bloom, it’s the perfect time to infuse your home with the scents of the season. Spring brings a sense of renewal and one way to embrace this spirit is through the art of home fragrance. Whether it’s the delicate aroma of freshly bloomed flowers or the crispness of a spring morning, the right scents can completely transform your space, uplift your mood, and create a welcoming ambiance for the season.

JO MALONE LONDON ENGLISH PEAR & FREESIA. Combining the essence of ripe pears with the floral scent of white freesias, this candle creates an inviting atmosphere, reminiscent of a blossoming orchard.




Nothing encapsulates the essence of spring like floral fragrances. Opt for scents like jasmine, lavender, rose, or peony to bring the delightful aroma of blooming flowers indoors. These fragrances evoke a sense of nature and a touch of elegance in any room.

Herbal scents like mint, basil, or freshly cut grass evoke the greenery of spring. These fragrances can create a refreshing and calming atmosphere, perfect for a serene ambiance.

This candle captures the crispness of freshly laundered linens, infusing your space with a clean and comforting aroma, perfect for a revitalizing ambiance.



CITRUS ZEST. The zesty and invigorating scents of citrus fruits - lemon, grapefruit, orange - bring a burst of freshness into your home. Citrus fragrances are known for their revitalizing properties, perfect for energizing spaces and lifting spirits.

Candles stand as timeless ambassadors of fragrance, adding both warmth and aroma to any space. They offer not just scent but also a soothing visual ambiance, making them a quintessential addition to your spring decor. Here are some recommended candle fragrances to embrace the spirit of spring.

FRESH LINEN AND CLEAN SCENTS. Capture the essence of a spring breeze with clean, airy fragrances like freshly laundered linen or cotton. These scents impart a sense of cleanliness and tranquility, ideal for bedrooms or relaxation spaces.


DIPTYQUE BAIES. A blend of rose and blackcurrant leaves, this iconic candle from Diptyque encapsulates the freshness of spring gardens, offering a sophisticated and captivating fragrance.

| ROWHOME MAGAZINE | January /February /March 2024

Blending French cade wood, verbena, and Bulgarian lavender, this candle emits a calming and luxurious fragrance, ideal for creating a serene sanctuary at home.

MALMAISON LUXE BOUGIE ENGLISH GARDEN. This handcrafted candle has subtle notes of green florals with a heart of lilac, rose, and jasmine. A beautiful, whimsical scent that embraces Spring.

Tips for Fragrant Homes • Layer Scents. Combine different fragrances strategically in various rooms to create a harmonious transition throughout your home. • Consider Diffusers. Apart from candles, diffusers using essential oils can be a subtle yet effective way to infuse your space with springtime scents. • Rotate Seasonal Scents. As the season evolves, consider changing your home fragrances to match the changing atmosphere outside. Scent has an incredible ability to evoke emotions and memories, and in the context of your home, it can transform the way you experience and perceive a space. With the arrival of spring, embracing fragrances that mirror the season’s essence allows you to fully immerse yourself in its beauty and vitality. So, light a candle, release the essence of spring into your home, and bask in the delightful transformation it brings.

1600 Spruce St. is a member of the Philadelphia RowHome Magazine (PRH) Business Network.

Prep your home for older Months


Tips to help keep you warm this winter


Courtesy of Condino Heating & Air Conditioning c o n d i n o h va c . c o m CHECK & UNBLOCK VENTS. Make sure nothing, like furniture, is covering your vents. You also want to make sure your ducts are clean, so you are getting adequate flow and not breathing dirty air.

SCHEDULE A FURNACE TUNE-UP. Regular tune-ups can increase the life of your system. This is the best way to make sure your heating system is ready for the season ahead.

REPAIR DRAFTS. Usually near windows or doors, drafts can cause your system to overwork. And this can increase your energy bill.

INSPECT YOUR FURNACE CABINET. What else do you store in there? Make sure the space around your furnace is clean and clear of any objects that might obstruct air flow.


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Weather, or even rodents trying to keep warm, can damage your A/C condenser in the winter months. Purchasing a fitted cover can prevent damages from occurring.

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Joe LaFiora Kitchen image by Kristina Kroot


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The average home design trends have a lifespan of about 10 years. Trying to keep up with the current trends is both challenging and expensive. If you find yourself trying to update a space without going too trendy, here are a few classic designs that have and will continue to stand the test of time.

WHITE CABINETS. The white kitchen has now officially crossed over to the classic trend. The bright and airy feeling of white cabinetry provides the perfect foundation for the kitchen.

NEUTRAL COLOR PALETTE. Whites and cream walls offer a clean backdrop to any space. This is an easy way to be commitmentfree from anything too dramatic. You can safely add color and texture with art, decorative pieces, and soft furnishings.


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VINTAGE PIECES. I always love to incorporate

a vintage piece to a design project. Wooden chest, old glass cabinet or a gilded mirror can be paired with almost anything to make it a staple.

NATURAL ELEMENTS. Nothing beats Mother Nature. Materials such as hardwood floors or natural stone never go out of style.

PATTERNS. Stripes and herringbone are here to stay. Whether applying this pattern to walls, floors or furnishings, this classic style makes a statement without being too trendy. No matter the latest fad, you can always make your home feel current when incorporating these design styles. If you need any help with your design project, contact FDG Interiors. 434 Virginia Ave Collingswood, NJ. 08107 856-264-6816

FDG Interiors is a member of the Philadelphia RowHome Magazine (PRH) Business Network.


| ROWHOME MAGAZINE | January /February /March 2024

lwelch;Philadelphia;Condino Heating and Air Conditioning;A86523;3.5x4.75-4C (24An)

Your Lennox® system. Your Lennox dealer. Perfect together.


215-468-8116 Since 1979

© 2023 Lennox Industries Inc. Lennox Dealers are independently owned and operated businesses.

A86523-24An-3.5x4.75.indd 1

12/11/23 11:23 A


PHL Builders

WWW.PHLBUILDERS.COM WILLIAM GUYON JR. & RON MALANDRO JR Owners, Licensed & Insured photos by @shotbydanielk PHL Builders transformed this old, outdated bathroom into a sleek, modern Jack & Jill bathroom that provides convenient access from two separate bedrooms. PHL Builders is a member of the Philadelphia RowHome (PRH) Magazine Business Network.

John S. Galati Accountant Serving clients for 47 years.

1522 E. Passyunk Ave. Philadelphia, PA 19147 P: 215.271.5000

| C: 856.207.1111

FAX: 215.271.5720

January /February /March 2024




to start the year

courtesy of the CPA Firm of David M. Spitzberg

Here are some tax tips to get you going into the new year with a brighter tax future on your horizon.

Review Beneficiaries. Now is the time to review beneficiaries in all your retirement accounts and insurance policies. While it might not impact your tax situation, it could impact others if not structured properly.

Fully fund FSA or MSA. Flexible Savings Accounts and Medical Savings Accounts are a great way to pay for qualified, medical, dental, and vision care. But it only works if you fund your account. So, check with your employer and plan to take full advantage of this great tax benefit.

Plan fully funded retirement accounts. Plan now to take advantage of the many retirement planning options. Whether it be a 401(K) or one of many versions of IRAs, they are a great way to manage your tax obligations, while planning for your future.

Consider any anticipated tax events. Life events are the biggest cause of tax surprises. So, if you are planning to move, retire, get married or divorced, have kids, or change jobs, you should

know of the tax impact BEFORE it happens. You could save thousands.

Review withholdings. Coupled with number 4, any changes could impact your tax obligation and should impact how much you have withheld during the year. So, consider an annual review of your situation and adjust your withholdings accordingly.

Consider the child factor. This one is important because of the numerous tax benefits associated with children. It can mean funding a 529 program or opening a Roth IRS if your older children have earned income. It can mean understanding when benefits expire as your children age or planning for college age children. The bottom line is, conduct a tax review specific to your children.

Consider your property. Selling a home, stocks, bonds, or digital currency all have potential tax implications. So, if any of these are on the horizon, consider taking a planned approach. It could save you a bundle.

The CPA Firm of David M Spitzberg is a member of the Philadelphia RowHome (PRH) Magazine Business Network.


| ROWHOME MAGAZINE | January /February /March 2024

THE PHILLYDREAM DIFFERENCE Let us help you find your Dream Home! Mario Tropea Jr. & the Dream Team

Serving the Philadelphia Real Estate Market for 40 years We understand the market. That is why most of our business comes from referrals and repeat customers whose trust we have earned. Our agents live in the same communities where we do business. This is our home. We want it to be yours, too. It is our privilege to share our knowledge with you.

honesty. Buying

integrity. Selling

Rental Properties

Property Management

respect. Full-Service Serving Realty Services Philadelphia & New Jersey

Keller Williams Realty 1601 W. Oregon Avenue, Philadelphia, PA 19145 Office: 215.389.2222 | Mobile: 215.783.3698 |





Q: Has anything been done to prevent or curtail Porch Piracy?

A: Yes. Stolen packages have

NOW YOU SEE IT NOW YOU DON’ T New law Targets Porch Piracy Epidemic


| ROWHOME MAGAZINE | January /February /March 2024

reached an alarming rate. Reports have indicated that 1 in 7 people in 2022 had a package stolen and as many as 54 percent of people had at least one package stolen over the recent holidays. The financial losses across the country are staggering, reaching billions of dollars. PA Governor Josh Shapiro signed the “Theft of Mail” law that makes it illegal to unlawfully take the mail of another. Mail includes letter, package, bag, or any item of value delivered to another. A first offense, where the value of the mail is under

$200, is punishable by up to 90 days in jail and a $300 fine. A second offense under $200 is subject to up to two years in jail and up to a $5,000 fine. If the second offense is over $200, the penalties are up to a $10,000 fine and up to 5 years in jail. If it is a third offense or more or if the value of the mail is over $2,000, the crime then becomes a felony with imprisonment up to 7 years and a fine of up to $15,000. The new law does have teeth for repeat offenders. But, as with all crimes in Philadelphia, the real issue is whether our local government will enforce the law. Hopefully, our new Mayor will embrace the seriousness of this theft epidemic.

Once again, Frank DePasquale has been recognized by his peers as a Pennsylvania Super Lawyer for 2024. He heads DePasquale Law Offices, 2332-34 S. Broad Street, Philadelphia, PA 19145. P: 215.755.4410. Email him at or visit


from the


SPACE HEATER courtesy of RON RABENA Chief Client Officer, Allied Universal



Construction & Improvements LLC Licensed and Insured

The use of space heaters in offices and homes is quite common in the winter. Even in warmer climates, winter mornings can bring a chill. These seemingly harmless devices may be an efficient way to heat a cold or drafty space, but they can pose certain safety hazards when used incorrectly. Even though a space heater does not have an open flame, the heating elements of some are hot enough to cause nearby combustibles to ignite. Additionally, fires can be caused by improper use or faulty wiring, and burns can be caused by contact with the heating element or a hot surface. Therefore, taking appropriate safety measures is vital in preventing an accident. It is also important to review space heater policies with building management prior to purchase or use.

215-669-7248 215-260-0748

SPACE HEATER SAFETY PRECAUTIONS hoose a space heater C with a guard around the heating element. Carefully follow the manufacturer’s instructions on how far the heater should be placed from other objects. Use a heater certified by a nationally recognized testing laboratory to meet safety standards. Buy a heater that is the correct size for the area you want to heat. Never leave an unattended heater turned on. Ensure proper ventilation. Never use or store flammable liquids around a space heater. Never use heaters to dry clothes or equipment or thaw pipes. Do not place a heater where objects could fall on it.

ollow the instructions and F safety precautions for operation and maintenance. Never use a portable heater in a bathroom or near a sink. Never operate a defective or broken heater. Do not run the heater’s cord under carpeting or where someone could trip over it. Never touch an electric heater if you are wet. Place the heater on a level surface for stability. Install and maintain a smoke detector in the area where the heater will be used. For more information on space heater safety... Consumer Product Safety Commission: | The US Department of Energy:

About the Author: Ron Rabena, Chief Client Officer at Allied Universal, is a member of the Philadelphia RowHome Magazine Business Network. Allied Universal is the leading global security and facility services company.

The Mike Giordano Jr. and Sr. Duo at

Your favorite South Philly father/son real estate duo for all of your real estate needs in PA and NJ! 1608 E. Passyunk Ave., Philadelphia, PA 19148 Cell: (calls and texts) 267-688-1449 | office: 215-334-3333 January /February /March 2024



Barrel’s Fine Food by JOEI DISANTO


love for the food service industry has been in the Franco family bloodline for decades. As time has proven, food and love go hand-in-hand. Andrea and Natalie Franco were happy to give me the scoop on their family business, Barrel’s Fine Food, a neighborhood landmark at 1725 Wolf Street. Since 1992, their parents, Tom, and the late Maria


Franco, have been serving customers their favorite family dishes that make them famous to this day. Pasta, chicken, veal, seafood, appetizers, salads, soups, and sandwiches. There’s something for everyone who walks through their doors. Despite their family’s success since opening, it has not been without risk and passion. Franco grew up in the family kitchen and left a steady job behind to open Barrel’s with his wife Maria. It didn’t take long for word to spread about this new hot spot and its home-cooked specialties. For more than 30 years, the cou-


ple worked side-by-side serving loyal customers near and far. Sadly, Maria Franco died in 2022, leaving behind a family-owned legacy with deep roots in the neighborhood. Customers looked forward to seeing her smiling face when they came to the restaurant, or famously sitting outside on the bench beside the front door – greeting all who entered. I, myself, have fond memories of visiting Maria at the restaurant, located on the corner of the same street where I grew up. I still can envision her beautiful blonde hair and smiling face as she greeted passersby. As Tom kept busy in the kitchen, he made sure his daughters learned the ropes of running a familyowned business. He taught them

| ROWHOME MAGAZINE | January /February /March 2024

Keeping family recipes around for 30+ years

how to prepare each and every dish. Maria handled the administrative ins and outs of the business, the girls explained, and together, this hardworking duo created a restaurant recipe for success that has continued for more than three decades. Since their mother’s passing, Natalie and Andrea have not only kept the business up and running but are growing it to reach more clients. Their original dishes remain the same, but now customers can enjoy these favorites on holidays and other occasions with catering options for larger groups. Using Easy Cater, organizations like medical offices and large companies can order anything from the menu. It was important to Natalie and Andrea to carry on the traditions their parents established for Barrel’s while introducing new options to satisfy their customers’ needs. Barrel’s has been a cornerstone of the community at Wolf & Bouvier Streets for more than three generations. Friendly, welcom-

ing, comforting. With a menu famous for the same specialty items their parents introduced on opening day in 1992. Barrel’s added a dining room in 1997 for diners who preferred a sit-down to delivery and take-out. Favorites include chicken parmigiana, penne Rosetta (a delicious cream sauce), homemade soups that rotate daily, and Caesar Salad with blackened chicken. Personally, I recommend the Chicken Sicilian over Rigatoni. And their chicken fingers with honey mustard are a classic. Mussels, red or white, as an appetizer or over pasta, are always a huge hit. Call 215.389.6010 to place an order. Or stop by for pickup or eat-in. You can use your Grubhub and UberEats apps. Visit them on Instagram @barrelsfinefoods2153896010 for specials and soups of the day posts. BARREL’S FINE FOODS IS A MEMBER OF THE PHILADELPHIA ROWHOME (PRH) MAGAZINE BUSINESS NETWORK.


shop local. shop small. shop fresh. Reading Terminal Market is rooted in the long tradition of providing fresh food to Philadelphians since 1893 (131 years).

Our merchant community is a family of 78 merchants under one roof, several are multi-generational.

We have it all, a one stop shop. Reading Terminal Market following the tradition of farmers, growers, bakers, and artisans bringing their wares to town to sell at the market for 131 years.


1136 Arch Street, Philadelphia, PA 19107 | 215.922.2317 Reading Terminal Market is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization registered with the Pennsylvania Department of State, Bureau of Charities.


Lemon Olive Oil




NOODLES Only minutes to make!

INGREDIENTS  1 cup olive oil  3 large eggs  1 1/2 cups granulated sugar  1/2 cup lemon juice  zest from 3 lemons

 1 tsp salt  1/2 tsp baking powder  1/2 tsp baking soda  2 cups all-purpose flour  1 cup whole milk


Optional toppings: Amarena cherries in syrup and whipped cream, fresh figs with whipped cream, powdered sugar

DIRECTIONS Preheat oven to 350F. Prepare a 9-10-inch springform pan by greasing the bottom and the sides, line the bottom with a circle of parchment paper. Wrap the outside with foil to prevent leaks. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the olive oil, eggs, and milk. Add lemon zest and lemon juice. Whisk briefly to combine. Mix together the salt, baking powder, baking soda, sugar and flour. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients. Whisking just to combine, be careful not to


overwork the flour. Pour the batter into the springform pan. Bake 50-55 minutes until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out wet (oily) but not with cake sticking to it. The cake should rise and start to turn a bit golden brown on the top. Remove from the oven and allow to cool for about 15 minutes in the pan. Then gently remove the cake from the springform pan, turn upside down so the bottom part becomes the top of the cake. When cool, cut, and top with your desired toppings.

| ROWHOME MAGAZINE | January /February /March 2024

INGREDIENTS  1/2 cup natural peanut butter or other nut or seed butter  1/4 cup water  1/4 cup chicken or

vegetable broth  2 tbsp reducedsodium soy sauce  12 oz spaghetti, cooked & drained

Topping suggestions: hot sauce, sriracha, toasted sesame seeds, sliced scallions

DIRECTIONS In a medium bowl, add peanut butter and microwave for 15 seconds. Mix in water, broth, and soy sauce until everything is well combined and smooth. Add hot sauce if you like it. Toss the sauce with the cooked pasta. Garnish with optional sliced scallions and toasted sesame seeds.

39 East Oregon Avenue Philadelphia, PA



Fresh Food. Friendly Spirits.


INGREDIENTS  18 to 20 ounces storebought ravioli (butternut squash variety)  6 tbsp unsalted butter  2 tbsp balsamic glaze  1/2 tsp salt

1825 E Moyamensing Ave Philadelphia, Pa 19148

267- 639 - 9720


m o o n s h i n e p h i l ly. c o m New brunch menu from Chef Levy 9 am - 3 pm every Saturday & Sunday Espresso, craft cocktails, live music Outdoor seating (weather permitting)


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 1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper  1/3 cup toasted, chopped pecans  1/4 cup grated Parmesan  2 oz of cooked spinach

DIRECTIONS Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the ravioli and cook 4 to 5 minutes until tender, but still firm to the bite, stirring occasionally. Drain ravioli onto a large serving platter. Meanwhile, in a medium saucepan, cook the butter over medium heat, stirring occasionally. When the foam subsides, and the butter begins to turn a golden brown, about 3 minutes, turn off the heat. Let cool for about 1 minute. Stir in the balsamic glaze, salt, pepper, and your spinach. Transfer the ravioli to the saucepan with the balsamic brown butter. Sprinkle pecans and Parmesan over the top. Serve immediately. Add grilled chicken if you’d like. I also used a little of my Veggielicious seasoning blend in my sauce. If you don’t have Veggielicious, you can use a little Better than Bouillon, which is safe for vegans to use. CHEF MITZI JACKSON IS A MEMBER OF THE PHILADELPHIA ROWHOME MAGAZINE (PRH) BUSINESS NETWORK.


Born in Italy - Made in America photos by BEN PONTARELLI


Pizza. It’s a delicious snack. It’s a satisfying meal. Globally, nine billion pizzas are consumed in a year and here in the USA, on any given day, about 1 in 8 people eat a slice or a pie. Wow, fellow pizza fans, it’s become a Modern Mambo Mangia Mania! But…do you know the history of the pizza? The history of pizza begins in Mediterranean antiquity. A flat piece of bread dough, baked and topped with savory foods was a widespread practice. However, a popular precursor was likely focaccia bread - known to Romans as panis focacius. They added toppings to this, as well. Pizza was first documented in AD 997, in the Mediterranean seaside city of Gaeta and in different parts of what would later be known as Central and Southern Italy. Modern pizza evolved in Naples during the 18th or early 19th century. At that time, pizza was eaten mostly in Italy and by emigrants to the United States. Pizza remained little known in Italy beyond Naples

until the 1940s, after World War II, when Allied troops stationed there began to enjoy pizza along with other Italian dishes. Actually, pizza became popular on the East Coast of the United States before it did in Italy! This was thanks to war veterans and Neapolitan USA immigrants who brought with them the tradition of the original street food. Not long after, pizza was popular enough to be featured in an episode of I Love Lucy. We all know how popular pizza is now, though! It has expanded from a homemade treat into artisan pies, national chains, and more varieties than you can imagine at your favorite grocery stores (fresh and frozen)!


How do you like your pizza? This focaccia version is inspired by my mother’s family tradition. I dedicate it, with love, to my aunts Carol Granato, Rachael Pontarelli, Rita Tropea, Julia “Chickie” Granato, and my cousins who carry a passion for homemade pizza making.

INGREDIENTS  4 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more as needed  3 tbsp salt  1 1/2 tbsp instant or active dry yeast

 1 3/4 cups lukewarm water  6 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil  1 tbsp honey or maple syrup or sugar  Your favorite toppings

DIRECTIONS In a medium bowl, whisk together water, yeast, and honey. Let sit for five minutes or until the yeast has foamed. This will indicate that your yeast is active. In a large bowl, combine the flour and salt. Whisk together. Add the yeast water to the bowl with the flour. Bring together with a wooden spoon or your hands until the flour and water is combined and there are no dry parts. The dough should be wet and sticky. Cover with plastic wrap or a damp tea towel and leave to sit for 10 minutes. Uncover the dough and begin to stretch and fold. To do this, wet your hands, take a section of the dough, stretch it up and fold it onto itself on the opposite side. Rotate the bowl and repeat three more times until you have gone all the way around the bowl. Cover to rest for 10 minutes. Repeat the stretch and fold method until a neat ball has formed. In a clean bowl, drizzle

extra virgin olive oil all around the sides and into the bottom. Transfer the dough to the oiled bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Leave to rest in the fridge for a minimum of 18 hours and maximum of 72 hours. When ready, prepare a baking pan by greasing lightly with extra virgin olive oil. Transfer the dough to the baking pan. Using your fingers, stretch the dough out slightly into a rough rectangular shape. The dough will rise and spread. Cover with a damp towel and leave the dough to rise in a warm area of your house for 2 - 3 hours. If your dough is uncovered, too much air could get in, creating a dry and crusty layer on top. Preheat oven to 390 degrees F. Cover the dough with your favorite toppings, sauces, and cheeses. Bake for 30 minutes or until the crust gets golden and crispy. When it’s done, place on a cooling rack and leave to rest for 30 minutes before serving.

January /February /March 2024



Cajun Shrimp, Crab & Cheese

GRITS with baby spinach, crispy prosciutto & pickled grape tomatoes m o o n s h i n e p h i l ly . c o m

Anthony, Vince & Vincent “Three generations; a team that is a cut above the rest.”

1801 Packer Avenue / Philadelphia, PA 19145 P: 215.940.2211 / P: 215.334.1212 / F: 215.940.2210 Photo by Andrew Andreozzi


“Best Stuffed Breads” South Jersey Magazine 2022 Shop at

or in-person Wednesday to Friday: 11am – 5pm | Saturday: 10am – 4pm 823 Eastgate Drive, Suite #3, Mount Laurel, NJ 08054


 1 qt cornmeal  1/2 gallon milk  1/2 gallon cold water  1 lb butter  1 oz chopped garlic  2 sprigs chopped rosemary  1 cup parmesan cheese  1 cup asiago cheese

 1 cup cheddar  1 tbsp smoked paprika  Salt & pepper, to taste  1 oz crispy prosciutto  6 grilled shrimp  1 oz lump crab  Fresh baby spinach  3 pickled grape tomatoes

DIRECTIONS In a large pot, melt butter while sweating chopped garlic on medium heat until tender. Add milk and water, bring to a boil then reduce flame to low heat. Slowly add cornmeal while whisking vigorously until it’s all combined. Let simmer for 10 minutes while stirring occasionally. Take off the heat, then add all the cheeses and fresh rosemary. Stir and add salt, pepper to taste.

TO ASSEMBLE In a medium size serving bowl, place 5 oz. grits. Top with 1/2 fresh baby spinach. Top with grilled shrimp, crab. Finish with crumbled crispy prosciutto and two pickled tomatoes. Boaggio’s Bread Now Offers Catering for all of your events.


Check out our extensive menu online. If there’s something you don’t see, ask!

Pick up only at this time. Great for any occasion!


| ROWHOME MAGAZINE | January /February /March 2024




SANDWICHES INGREDIENTS  1 package (3.4 oz) instant vanilla pudding mix  2 cups cold milk  2 cups whipped topping

 1 cup (6 oz) miniature semisweet chocolate chips  24 whole graham crackers, halved

DIRECTIONS Mix pudding and milk according to package directions; refrigerate until set. Fold in whipped topping and chocolate chips. Place 24 graham crackers on a baking sheet; top each with about 3 tablespoons of pudding mix. Place another graham cracker on top. Wrap individually in plastic wrap; freeze for 1 hour or until firm. Serve sandwiches frozen.

Yield: 2 dozen




PUDDING with Whiskey Cream

 5 cups of day-old bread, cubed (such as French or Italian bread)  2 cups milk  4 eggs  1/2 cup sugar  1 tsp vanilla extract

 1/2 tsp cinnamon  1/4 tsp nutmeg  1/2 cup raisins, soaked in 1/2 water (optional)  Butter for greasing the baking dish

WHISKEY CREAM  1 stick butter, softened  1 1/2 cups powdered sugar

 2 tbsp whiskey

DIRECTIONS Preheat your oven to 350°F. Heavily grease a 9x13 baking dish with butter. In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk, sugar, vanilla extract, cinnamon, and nutmeg until well combined. Add the cubed bread and raisins to the mixture, ensuring all the bread is soaked in the liquid. Let it sit for about 15-20 minutes to allow the bread to absorb the liquid. Pour the mixture into the greased baking dish, spreading it out evenly. Bake in the preheated oven for about 35-40 minutes or until the top is golden brown and the pudding is set. Let it cool slightly before serving.

FOR THE CREAM Beat butter in a mixer until fluffy. Gradually add the powdered sugar, making sure to scrape down sides of bowl. Add whiskey and beat again until fluffy. Can be served immediately over the bread pudding. If refrigerated, make sure the cream comes to room temperature before serving. CAFFE IDA IS A MEMBER OF THE PHILADELPHIA ROWHOME MAGAZINE (PRH) BUSINESS NETWORK.

January /February /March 2024



Josephine’s Escarole


The historic rebirth of one of Italy’s premier cafes

Authentic Italian on-line market & restaurant Mail Order Gelato Award Winning Coffee Luxury Chocolate Italian Olive Oils DOP Salumi & Formaggi Bath/Beauty * and more

This is a very old recipe from my mother’s family. It started in the 1890’s in Pescara, Ital y, and came to South Phi ladelphia in 1912. It has been enjoye d through time. Escaro le soup is a healthy Italian meal. This soup will warm your heart and bones.  Stewing chicken  Head of escarole gre ens  6 eggs

1716 CHESTNUT STREET PHILADELPHIA, PA 19103 215.568.5600 W W W . G R A N C A F F E L A Q U I L A. C O M



 1 onion, diced  Lots of grated Locatelli cheese

 Salt & black pepper, to taste

DIRECTIONS Cut the chicken into pie ces, then wash the mo re. Take everything out chicken and put into a of the pot large pot of water and drain only the soup. with salt. Cook under me Put diced onion dium heat and in the pot, then the esc boil the chicken for abo arole, and cook ut one hour. Once it until it’s wilted. Add it’s done boiling, take the 6 beaten eggs to chicken out of the pot. Add the chicke the pot and pull the chi n meat back into cken away from the pot, then add lots of the bones. Put the meat grated cheese. into a closed Pour everything into a container, put the skin large bowl and let and bones back the soup cool. Refrigerate into the pot. Add salt and it overnight. black pepper in *You can add more cheese the pot and cook about if you’re a cheese 1 1/2 to 2 hours person. The cheese just add s flavor to the soup.

| ROWHOME MAGAZINE | January /February /March 2024

Chika Ramen Bar in Center City is a cool spot with a Blade Runner vibe. Of course, the ramen is tasty, but don’t forget a side of these spicy tuna rice crisps - seared sushi rice, tuna tartare, topped with jalapeno.

I run @PhillyFoodMoms with a couple of friends and we recently got together for dinner at New Era Indian Cuisine in Chestnut Hill. The Samosa Chaat - crushed vegetable samosa topped with chickpeas, yogurt, sweet and tangy chutneys - is a great shared appetizer.

On Washington Ave in South Philly, OK Hot Chicken is a must for pick-up on your way home from work! The walk-up window opens daily at 6 pm and everything is available in a variety of spice levels. You gotta try the Combo #2 which includes a slider, a tender and fries.

Every order placed at The Fern & Fable directly supports People’s Light, the affiliated non-profit theatre just steps away! Plan a dinner and a show night out. The Malvern restaurant features a farm-to-table menu and great shared plates like this eggplant satay.

Not too far away in downtown Wilmington, DE, you’ll find Stitch House Brewery. Along with a great beer selection, they also serve lots of sandwiches (like this chicken cutlet), fresh soups of the day, skillets and so much more. Weekday lunch specials include half sandwich/ half soup combos. Kid friendly too!

It’s way too hard to pick a favorite dumpling or bowl at Brooklyn Dumpling Shop, now open on South Street. But whatever you order, make sure you save room for a side of the waffle fries in peanut sauce. So good! The automat style ordering is really fun, too!





My friend and I ordered basically the whole menu at Brunchaholics, but I think the smoked short rib hash was my favorite. Locations in Fishtown and Cherry Hill, with a menu that’s updated every month or so, and plenty of sweet and savory options.

I’m always on the hunt for a happy hour close to all the theatres on Broad Street. The Loch Bar has a fantastic one that starts at 3 pm and features $8 crushes (grapefruit is my favorite) and this excellent portion of fish and chips for $9.

Almost every night, I’m out celebrating a new restaurant opening or seasonal menu, the latest cocktails, a pop-up event, kid-friendly activities, and so much theatre! It’s a lot of fun and if you want to see more of what I’m up to, follow along at @shamrockenroll or @phillyfoodmoms on Instagram. Hungry? Thirsty? Here are some of the best things I’ve tried recently, and you should too!

You probably already heard about the espresso martini at Bar1010 in Northern Liberties. It’s topped with freshly grated parmesan cheese and really is that good! But you need to get the cheesy bread too. And a couple desserts.

I love the happy hour menu at Bar Bombon, a Latin-inspired restaurant in Rittenhouse. Everything here is plant based, too! The tacos are excellent and pair well with their margaritas. Another great dish featuring chickpeas is the masala roasted cauliflower at Rat’s Restaurant. Rat’s was recently named one of the most romantic restaurants across the US for 2024 by The Knot. It’s located on the gorgeous Grounds for Sculpture campus in Hamilton, NJ.

El Merkury, featuring scratch-made Central American street food, recently launched a churro happy hour at their Chestnut Street location! BOGO churros, or guests can substitute one churro for a hot drink like freshly made Guatemalan Hot Chocolate, coffee, espresso, cappuccino, or latte.

SIN (Steak Italian Nightlife) in Northern Liberties has this delicious house-made ricotta gnocchi topped with sausage and broccoli rabe. There are a ton of menu items for anyone who isn’t a big steak fan, plus tableside cacio e pepe!

January /February /March 2024





This makes a large batch! INGREDIENTS 1 qt chopped onions 3 /4 qt olive oil 1 can crushed tomatoes 2 cans (use tomato can) of water 1 1/2 oz salt

 2 oz granulated garlic  2 oz parsley flakes  1 pinch white pepper  2 cans peas, rinsed  2 lbs pasta shells, cooked

DIRECTIONS Cook onions in oil until translucent. Add remaining ingredients, stir, and let cook on low for 2-3 hours. Before serving, add the pasta shells. Enjoy! BARREL’S FINE FOODS IS A MEMBER OF THE PHILADELPHIA ROWHOME MAGAZINE (PRH) BUSINESS NETWORK.


| ROWHOME MAGAZINE | January /February /March 2024


INGREDIENTS  1 1/2 lbs Italian sausage, sweet or hot  3 1/2 cups red grapes, stems removed (about 3.5 lbs)  2 sprigs fresh rosemary, stems removed and

coarsely chopped  1 sweet onion, thinly sliced  1 tsp fennel seeds  2 tbsp olive oil  Salt & pepper, to taste  1 tbsp balsamic vinegar

DIRECTIONS Pre-heat oven to 425 degrees. Place grapes on a rimmed baking sheet, add rosemary, fennel seeds, onion and olive oil. Salt and pepper to taste. Toss to coat. With a fork, prick the sausage casings all over. Place the sausages in the middle of the grapes mix. Place sheet pan on the middle rack and roast for 25-28 minutes, tossing at the halfway mark. The grapes should have burst, and the sausages are nice and brown. Drizzle the balsamic vinegar, toss, and serve.


New Year’s


For as long as I can remember, my Italian mother has been serving up lentil soup every New Year’s Eve, along with other fun traditions. Mom was born in Naples, Italy, in 1940. She taught us that if you want prosperity and good luck in the coming year, you must eat lentils on New Year’s Eve or New Year’s Day! Serve with crusty Italian bread for a hardy and delicious meal.

INGREDIENTS  1 medium onion, diced  2 carrots, diced  2 celery ribs, chopped  4 cloves of garlic (peeled, smashed & minced)  1 tsp Italian seasoning  1 tsp salt  1/2 tsp black pepper  2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

 4-5 cups vegetable broth  2 cups water  28 oz canned crushed tomatoes  1 cup dried lentils  2 dried bay leaves  1 cup elbow macaroni  15 oz can of cannellini beans, drained & rinsed  2 cups fresh chopped spinach

Optional add-ins: a warm baguette for dunking, parmesan cheese for topping, parsley to garnish.

DIRECTIONS Heat a large Dutch oven or pot to medium-high heat with 2 tablespoons of oil. Add onion, carrots, celery and sauté until vegetables are tender. Add garlic, Italian seasoning, salt, pepper. Cook for an additional minute, stirring constantly. Add in broth, water, and crushed tomatoes (with juices). Stir in the lentils and bay leaves. Bring pot to a boil. Once soup is bubbling, reduce heat to a low simmer and cover. Cook for 25 minutes. After 25 minutes, remove the lid and increase heat to medium. Add pasta and cannellini beans, cook until beans are heated through, and pasta is tender. Remove bay leaves. If you’re ready to serve it immediately, add in the chopped spinach and optional extras. Leftovers can also be frozen.


VODKA Sauce INGREDIENTS  ( 6) 28 oz La Fede D.O.P. San Marzano Tomatoes

 1 tbsp chopped garlic

1 8 peeled garlic gloves (smashed)

 2 tsp coarse black pepper

1 8 basil leaves 1 6 oz cured Pancetta  16 oz cured Guanciale (or all Pancetta if Guanciale is unavailable) 2 medium yellow onions (diced)

 2 tbsp salt (not kosher)  2 tsp granulated garlic  1 1/2 quarts heavy cream  16 oz grated Pecorino Romano  2 1/2 cups olive oil  12 oz Grey Goose Vodka


DIRECTIONS In a medium saucepan, bring together 1/2 cup olive oil, 1 tablespoon chopped garlic and 2 medium onions diced to a golden brown. Once some crispness hits your garlic/ onion mix, add your 16 oz of Pancetta and Guanciale. Once this becomes golden brown, it’s time for a vodka bath and flambé. Do not pour vodka into sauce pan directly over flame. Remove first. In a gallon sauce pot, bring remaining 1/2 cup of olive oil and your 18 “SMASHED” peeled garlic cloves to a brown.

Once browned, add all 6 of the 28 oz D.O.P. tomatoes. Mix in your meat, garlic and onion mix and then all of your other spices (2 tbsp. salt, 2 tsp. coarse black pepper and 2 tsp. granulated garlic). Give a good mix and allow it to come to a boil. Once boiling, lower heat to a low or “simmer.” Cover with lid and simmer for 2 hours, stirring every 15 minutes. After two hours, remove the lid and stir in basil leaves, heavy cream, and grated Pecorino Romano. Allow to simmer for 20 more minutes with the lid off.


January /February /March 2024



Food. Family. Traditions.

WHAT CAME FIRST? The Chicken or the Cutlet?


and daughters took over the business. In 1952, their son, Alphonse “Butchie,” ten years older than all his siblings, headed the enterprise and continued to sell live chickens under the name Al’s Poultry. As the neighborhood grew, Al discovered that some of his customers did not want to buy a whole bird. He put on his thinking cap, and he came up with the cut-up chicken. At the time, no one was doing this, Linda explained. It was innovative. Customers loved the fresh poultry, but many only wanted the legs, thighs, and wings. The breasts with the bones were always left over. Al’s family had a big discussion and decided they had to do something with these chicken breasts. So, Al removed the bone and started selling boneless breasts. His customers were delighted. One day, an elderly customer named Michalena came into the store. Although she loved the boneless breast, she complained that the size of it was too large for her, alone. ‘Too much! Slice a piece - thin, thin, thin! Just a piece from the top,’ she requested from the butcher.



n 1915, the Philadelphia Phillies were National Champions, the Liberty Bell took a trip to California, and an immigrant family opened a live poultry shop on 13th and McKean Streets. “My husband Ernie’s great-grandparents, Laura and Anthony Scalpato, opened Tony’s Butcher Shop on 13th and McKean and sold live chickens,” Linda Tropea DellaPia says. “At the time, people did not want to buy a dead bird. They would pick out a chicken and Anthony would take it in the back, cut the head off, and the customer was very happy to take it home and pluck the bird for dinner. “The business got so big with the live chickens because they were the only ones doing it,” she added. “The family needed to expand and bought the properties on either side of the store. They excavated and refinished the basement to accommodate the growing number of chickens to process. All the chicken crates went down there. It was very European.” As time went on, the original Scalpatos passed away and their seven sons

| ROWHOME MAGAZINE | January /February /March 2024

Reluctantly, Al’s brother Michael, aka “Scalpy,” did exactly what Michalena asked. But he told her not to tell anyone, especially ‘Maria down the street because she will be here tomorrow asking for a thin piece,’ Linda laughed as she shared the story. But, of course, Maria came into the shop the next day. ‘I want a thin, thin, thin piece, too!,’ she told the butcher. One by one, neighborhood women came into Al’s Poultry asking for the thin, almost translucent, chicken pieces. “The cutlet was born and caught on,” DellaPia says. “It was sensational!” You could dip the thin pieces in egg and breadcrumbs and suddenly, it became a very substantial meal. Now in its fourth generation, trading as Philadelphia Poultry, President Ernie DellaPia and his twin brother and VP Michael DellaPia, sell to fine purveyors of meat. So, the next time you dig into a delicious chicken cutlet sandwich, you can thank Michalena, and others like her, for your delicious meal. See page 62 for Nonna DellaPia’s “Best Ever” chicken cutlet recipe!

2300 ARENA & BAR2300

Philly’s Favorite Entertainment Venue adds Food to its Lineup by JOHN NACCHIO


ocated near the bustling Delaware Riverfront in the heart of South Philadelphia, 2300 Arena commands the corner at 2300 S. Swanson Street. This independently owned live entertainment venue, considered a premier “mini convention center,” prides itself as host to just about any crowd-pleasing event from boxing, wrestling, mixed martial arts, to concerts, theater, festivals, and conventions. Through the years, the neighborhood kept a keen eye on the landmark building that now houses 2300 Arena. They watched it evolve from a 1920s railway industrial freight warehouse to a Vikings Mummers practice area in the 1970s, to an active midnight bingo hall before transforming into the nationally known venue it is today. The location was considered an architectural eyesore through the 1990s, but in 1993, it began an exciting chapter in re-birth and notoriety. The Eastern Championship Wrestling decided to tape its weekly TV series for Sports Channel Philadelphia in the windowless building. Arena co-owner Roger Artigiani laughs, “If these walls could talk,” thinking back to the ECW’s entrance into the venue. When packed to the rafters with thousands of rowdy wrestling fans, the warehouse/arena quickly became a major player in the history of American sports-entertainment. The venue continued to grow its identity, becoming the New Alhambra Arena (spotlighting boxing), followed by the Asylum Arena (adding concerts). When Artigiani - who is also the director of sports, music, and entertainment at the venue along with co-owner and artistic director Christy Bottie, took over, it was a building with history, but not much in the way of amenities. Now, they are adding major upgrades and brand-

Through the years, the neighborhood kept a keen eye on the landmark building that now houses 2300 Arena.

ing efforts to take it to the next level with the launch of 2300 Arena and bar2300. The 20,000 sq. ft. state-ofthe-art high tech entertainment venue has a flexible arena capacity seating of 1,000 (expandable with elevation to 2,300) and approximately 200-350 in the bar and party area. You’ll find Bottie’s hand-painted murals throughout the building. “[Her] mural of the Walt Whitman Bridge spans the wall of bar2300 and is well paired with the iconic EWC Mural in the Men’s Room, known worldwide as a favorite photo op for social media. It ignites memorable fan moments at the Arena,” Artigiani says. “Women have requested a mural which Christy would like to add.” A brand-new separate entrance from the arena (facing Swanson Street) provides customers with an attractive, clean, safe environment to host parties and showcase January /February /March 2024

entertainment. “Add pipe and drapes, and the bar area becomes a variety of possibilities, creating different atmospheres to enjoy entertainment and events,” Bottie says. The daylong menu at bar2300, which will include weekend brunch, includes an assortment of signature food items. Along with Artigiani and Bottie, the 2300 Arena team includes Vicki Pohl (Director of Corporate and Private Events) and Mike Pancoast (Production Director). “The emphasis at the new bar2300 amenity is on talented and energetic staff, and food at a reasonable price,” Artigiani says. “We do so much more than special events. Stay tuned for regular daytime cafe hours and happy hours in the spring. We anticipate becoming a top go-to place to enjoy food, drink, and entertainment in Philadelphia!” 2300 ARENA & BAR2300 ARE MEMBERS OF THE PHILADELPHIA ROWHOME (PRH) MAGAZINE BUSINESS NETWORK.








Total Purchase of $100 or more. HURRY! Offer expires 3/31/24.


We have the suits, vests, pants, shirts, white shoes and more. One-Stop Shopping! Please Call For An Appointment


FYI - not all First Holy Communion suits are the traditional white suits. We can fit the boys in a sharp blue suit as well.

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A South Philly Tradition Since 1902



Beef Stew

2537 South Broad Street

(Broad & Shunk, Next to Monti Rago’s Funeral Home) Open Mon., Tues., Thurs. & Fri: 10am-5pm Wed: 10am-6pm • Sat. 10am-4pm • Closed Sundays


Offer expires 3/31/24


1732 W Passyunk Ave, Philadelphia, PA 19145


Open 7 days a week // 7am to 10pm WE DELIVER

20th St. & Moyamensing Ave. Philadelphia, PA 19145

Weddings Funeral Lunches and more!



 3 tbsp balsamic vinegar  1 6 oz can tomato paste  1/4 cup all-purpose flour  1 bottle of dry red wine  1 32 oz box of low sodium beef broth  3 cups water  1 bay leaf  1 tsp dried thyme

 1 1/2 tsp sugar  6 large carrots, peeled & cut into 1-inch chunks  1 lb small white boiling potatoes (baby yukons), cut in half  Fresh chopped parsley, for serving (optional)

DIRECTIONS Pat the beef dry and season with salt and pepper. In a large heavy pot, heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil over medium-high heat until hot. Brown the meat in 3 batches, turning with tongs, for about 5 minutes per batch; add two tablespoons more oil for each batch. Do not crowd the pot and let the meat develop a nice brown crust before turning with tongs. Transfer the meat to a large plate and set aside. Add the onions, garlic, and balsamic vinegar; cook, stirring with a wooden spoon and scraping the brown bits from the bottom of the pan, for about 5 minutes. Add the tomato paste and cook for a minute more. Add the beef with its juices back to


Delicious homemade food Breakfast / coffee / pasta sandwiches / salads / treats

 4 lbs beef chuck, cut into 1½-inch pieces  1 tsp salt  1 tsp freshly ground black pepper  6 tbsp olive oil  3 medium yellow onions, cut into 1-inch chunks  8 cloves garlic, peeled & smashed

| ROWHOME MAGAZINE | January /February /March 2024

the pot and sprinkle with the flour. Stir with a wooden spoon until the flour is dissolved, 1 to 2 minutes. Add the wine, beef broth, water, bay leaf, thyme, and sugar. Stir with a wooden spoon to loosen any brown bits from the bottom of the pan and bring to a boil. Add the carrots and potatoes. When the pot starts to boil, stir, and cover with a lid. The broth will start to thicken. Cook on low for 3-4 hours stirring every 20-30 minutes. Remove the bay leaf and serve. Garnish with fresh parsley, if desired. Freezer-Friendly. The stew can be frozen for up to 3 months. Before serving, defrost the stew in the refrigerator for 24 hours and then reheat on the stovetop over medium-low heat until hot.



COOKIES In memory of Concetta Mascitti

This old-world cookie recipe has been a family favorite for generations. Calgionetta (meaning pants in English) are most likely named for their shape.

INGREDIENTS FOR THE DOUGH  4 cups of flour  1 cup of oil  1 cup of white wine

(Sauterne)  1 pinch of salt

INGREDIENTS FOR THE FILLING  2 cans of chickpeas  1 cup of rum  1/4 lb of roasted almonds  1/2 lb of sweet

chocolate (chopped)  1 cup of sugar (taste & see if it is sweet enough for you)

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Sift flour and salt onto a floured board and make a well in the middle. Mix wine and oil together before pouring into the well. Knead the dough until it is smooth, white, elastic, and as soft as putty. After you have done this, roll the dough out as thin as possible. For the filling, boil the chickpeas and remove the skin after they are soft. Allow to cool, then press them into a paste. Add the rum, chopped almonds, chocolate, and sugar. Mix well. Set aside. After you have rolled out the dough, spoon out the filling 2 1/2 inches apart and fold the dough over top like ravioli. Use a glass to cut out each ravioli and use a fork to seal the ends. Over the stove, fill a pot 3/4 of the way with oil and deep fry the ravioli until they puff up and crisp. Do not let them brown. When they are done, set the ravioli aside on a tray and sprinkle them with cinnamon sugar.

January /February /March 2024


The Joy is in the


Producer / Director: Joan Roman Photographer: Shot By Barbuto Drone Team: Kim Players & Natalie Naylor PA: Luciano Oldrati

58 | ROWHOME MAGAZINE | January /February /March 2024

Food. Family. Traditions.

The Switch House by Cescaphe

Historic PECO plant on the Delaware hosts Volpe’s newest wedding venue & hotel by JORDAN CERONE Food. Family. Tradition. From the time he cut the ribbon at on old movie theater turned ballroom in Northern Liberties 20 years ago, to the opening of The Lucy, named in memory of his mother, Cescaphe CEO Joe Volpe embodies all that we honor in this edition of Philadelphia RowHome Magazine. His latest project is all about tradition. His own tradition of breathing new life into historic landmarks like this one on the Delaware River – an old PECO power plant that energized the entire city back in 1917. The way Volpe energizes it today.

Welcome to The Switch House by Cescaphe. Q. You’re known for taking on seemingly impossible renovation projects and turning them into something extraordinary. Where does that vision come from? When I first walked into this building in 2015, I was blown away by the size and scale of it. I knew I had to have it no matter how hard it was going to be. It was a lot harder than I thought. I don’t set out to choose the hardest places, it just happens to be the most beautiful places are the hardest ones to make beautiful, again.

Q. What made you choose this location as your next venue? I knew it would make the most spectacular wedding venue and hotel. And it was large enough to house our corporate offices so we could all work together in the same space - the commissary, the main office, the sales office, the trolley company, the floral company.

Q. How did you choose the name – The Switch House? Back in 1917, this 500,000 sq foot building lit the whole city of Philadelphia. This development was one big power plant. The building we are in was called the Switch

House by PECO because it collected the electricity from generators and distributed it, or “switched” it, from a larger scale to a smaller scale across the power grid. I reused the name.

Q.. What is your favorite Cescaphe venue? My favorite venue will always be the original Cescaphe Ballroom, because of the special meaning it had back in time. And it’s where I first met Dawn and Dorette and RowHome Magazine. So, I think it’s my favorite, for sure.

Q. What advice do you have for young business owners just starting out? I teach my kids, if you can think it, see it, and dream about it, you can make it happen. Go out and do it, every day. Outwork them, outhussle them, and it will come true. I promise you; it will come true. Cescaphe, a member of the Philadelphia RowHome (PRH) Magazine Business Network, has grown to include the following venues: Cescaphe Ballroom, Tendenza, Vie, The Down Town Club, Water Works, The Lucy, The Switch House, and The Bellevue Hotel (The Grand Belle & Ballroom XIX, coming in 2024).

The Volpe family / 2005

January /February /March 2024





Love isn’t just in the air at Martorano’s Prime this Valentine’s Day … it’s also in our deliciously crafted signature cocktails! This simple recipe yields a sweet drink that can be made at home and is perfectly fit for the day of love.

INGREDIENTS  1 1/2 oz (3 tbsp) vodka  2 scoops (3/4 cup total) wild berry water ice  1/4 oz (1/2 tbsp) fresh lemon juice  Granulated sugar, lemon wheel & rosemary sprig (for garnish)  1/4 oz (1/2 tbsp) orange liqueur  1 1/2 oz (3 tbsp) pomegranate liqueur GARNISH: torched lemon wheel & rosemary sprig

INSTRUCTIONS 1. Add wild berry water ice into chilled martini glass 2. Add vodka, liqueurs, and lemon juice in mixing tin with ice 3. Shake vigorously 4. Strain cocktail into martini glass (pouring it over the water ice) 5. Garnish with torched lemon wheel and rosemary sprig TO TORCH LEMON WHEEL: sprinkle sugar onto a cut slice of lemon, then using a culinary torch, lightly char the lemon slice while caramelizing the sugar on top. (To achieve a similar effect, after sprinkling with sugar, place a lemon slice under a broiler or onto a hot grill until slightly charred.)



| ROWHOME MAGAZINE | January /February /March 2024



WITH ITALIAN RUB l o m b a r d i m e at s . c o m

Philly INGREDIENTS  2 lbs flat iron steak  2 tbsp garlic powder  1 tbsp oregano  1 tbsp rosemary

 1 tsp salt  1 tsp black pepper  2 tbsp olive oil


DIRECTIONS Pat both sides of the steak dry. Combine the dry ingredients in a bowl. Rub mixture on both sides of the steak. Heat a large skillet or cast iron pan on high heat. When the pan is hot, add 2 tablespoons of olive oil and add the steak. Cook the steak for 4 minutes, then flip and cook for 3 minutes. Remove steak from the pan and let it rest for 10 minutes. Cut against the grain and serve.

Featuring over 35 Flavors


215-645-9401 2020 Penrose Ave. Philadelphia, PA 19145

Follow us on Instagram @perfect.scoop

January /February /March 2024



Chapel of Four Chaplains Lions Club 1201 Constitution Avenue. Philadelphia, PA 19112

Nonna DellaPia’s

Charter President

Russell A Shoemaker



Chapel Phone



INGREDIENTS  3 cups homemade breadcrumbs  3 tsp garlic powder or 3 cloves of garlic, minced  2 tbsp finely minced fresh Italian flat leaf parsley



 kosher salt  freshly ground black pepper

 3 large eggs  1 cup all purpose flour  2 lbs boneless, skinless chicken breasts, thinly sliced  olive oil for frying

DIRECTIONS Add breadcrumbs, garlic, parsley, and 3/4 cup cheese to a medium shallow bowl. Season with salt and pepper. Use your fingers to mix it together, working the garlic into the breadcrumbs evenly. In another bowl, whisk eggs with 1/2 cup cheese, a pinch of salt and pepper and 1 tablespoon water. Pour the flour into another shallow bowl or plate, season with salt and pepper and mix to combine. Take one piece of chicken and place it on a cutting board. Place a piece of plastic wrap over it. Use a meat mallet to pound it out to about 1/2 inch thick. Repeat with the remaining chicken. Season each piece of chicken on both sides with salt and pepper. Dip chicken pieces into the flour to coat on all sides, then tap off the excess.


Our Only Location In South Philly Corporate Accounts Welcome! Monday through Thursday 11am-9pm Friday & Saturday 11am-10pm

 3/4 cup plus 1/2 cup finely grated parmigiana Reggiano cheese

| ROWHOME MAGAZINE | January /February /March 2024

Next, dip it into the egg mixture and let the excess drip off. Transfer the chicken into the breadcrumbs. Press it down so that it’s thoroughly coated. Heat olive oil in a salute pan over medium-high heat. Place 1-3 chicken breasts in at a time, but don’t overcrowd the pan. Cook until golden brown on each side, then remove to a rack or paper towels to drain. Serve immediately, or place in a 250-degree F oven for up to 1 hour before serving to keep warm. Nonna would say it was the best chicken cutlet you will ever have because of her secret tricks. Whenever there was leftover cutlet, which wasn’t often, she would turn them into chicken parm (smother with marinara and mozzarella). Leftovers can be stored, wrapped tightly, in the refrigerator for up to 5 days, or in the freezer for up to 3 months.

How to jar

Tomatoes for canning












pour some hot water from the sterilizing pot over the tops of the lids. Do not boil the lids, and keep in mind that the screw bands don’t need to be sterilized. Wash, core and cut tomatoes into fourths. Simmer the tomatoes until they are somewhat melted. Pass the pulp through a food mill to discard the seeds and skins. The pulp and juice are again placed in a pot and cooked until the boiling point. Have your canning jars ready with a leaf of basil in the bottom. Fill jars within a half-inch from the top. Make sure to wipe any drips of tomato. Process the tomatoes in a boiling water bath for 40 minutes for pints and 45 minutes for quarts. Remove jars and check the seals. When the jars have cooled, press the center of each lid to check the seal. If the dip in the lid holds, the jar is sealed. If the lid bounces up and down, the jar isn’t sealed. Unsealed jars should be stored in the refrigerator and used within three days, or you can reprocess the tomatoes within 24 hours.


In August, go to New Jersey and hand-pick plum tomatoes from the farm. The Jersey tomatoes are the best in terms of flavor and size. For each pint of canned tomatoes, you will need 1 1/4 to 1 1/2 pounds of ripe tomatoes. For each quart, you’ll need 2 1/2 to 3 1/2 pounds of ripe tomatoes. Before you start any canning recipe, clean and sterilize your canning supplies. Wash your empty canning jars in hot, soapy water, and rinse them thoroughly. Place jars in a boilingwater canner. Cover the jars with hot water; bring to a simmer over medium heat. Let the jars simmer for 10 minutes, then keep them hot in the simmering water until you’re ready to fill each one. When you’re ready to start filling them, remove one sterilized jar at a time from the water and place it on a clean kitchen towel to prevent it from slipping while you fill it. While the jars are simmering, place the lids in a bowl and

3120 S. 20TH STREET PHILADELPHIA | PA | 19145 1(215) 755-7180



January /February /March 2024




Traditional Italian New Year’s Eve Doughnuts (Zeppole)

Lil’ Nick’s FAMOUS HOAGIES 1311 W. Moyamensing Ave.

215-468-4647 Award Winning Specialty HOAGIES

Distinct chicken cutlet sandwiches Variety of hoagie / chicken cutlet Party trays available Every New Year’s Eve back in the day, the family gathered around my grandparents’ kitchen table, vigorously talking, almost shouting. All were there to anxiously embrace the midnight hour to ring in the New Year. While waiting, they would tease and joke about each other, telling humorous stories about the people in the neighborhood and feasting on snacks of roasted chestnuts and other assorted nuts that needed to be individually cracked and shelled. This was accompanied by dishes of dried dates, apricots, and figs. Family members were crammed shoulderto-should, with 20 of us around a table set for 12. The hierarchy of age did not matter that night as the table was lined with both young and old. All

Big Nick’s

Grandmom’s Recipe INGREDIENTS MENU

Cold Cuts & Italian Specialties

were equal to play a game with a deck of cards and a Bingo-like sheet that had multiple squares with the faces of cards on it. The round of games often got hot and heavy with competitive tension. Then the dealer shouted out with glee, “POKENO!” Grandmom was in the background mixing a dough batter and heating oil in a large pan on the stovetop. A savory aroma filled the room as she started frying the zeppole or frittelle. Some frittelle were plain with powdered sugar and others with anchovies inside. Silly silence suddenly prevailed, almost hypnotically, as the Pokeno game became unimportant, and dishes filled with the warm fried dough were placed on the table. Ah, tradition never tasted so good!

 4 cups of flour  1/4 cup of sugar  1 tsp of salt

 1 tsp instant dry yeast  3 cups of warm water  Confectioners sugar or cinnamon sugar


1311 W. Moyamensing Ave Philadelphia, PA 19148

215-952-2500 64

In a large bowl, add dry ingredients - flour, sugar, salt, and dry yeast. Mix dry ingredients with a large spoon then add 3 cups of warm water. Beat steadily until a soft (wet) dough forms. Cover bowl with plastic wrap or damp cloth. Let rise in a warm place until double in bulk, about 1 to 1/1/2 hours. Heat about 3 inches of olive oil in a saucepan set on medium heat to a sizzle or about 375°F. Form golf ball size (or smaller) of dough to drop in oil using

| ROWHOME MAGAZINE | January /February /March 2024

either a large spoon or clean hands dusted with flour to shape dough (irregular shapes can create more interest). Fry in small batches until golden brown (turn over), remove with wire/slotted ladle. Drain on paper towels. Sprinkle with confectioners sugar, or best, put the fried dough balls in a small brown paper bag. Add a teaspoon or two of confectioners sugar, fold top of bag, and shake. Then set on dish to cool. (Best eaten while still warm).


ROLLBACK Remember when Bread was 45¢ a Loaf! photo by ANDREW ANDREOZZI

Here comes the Bride then

now A lot has changed since 1976, especially these prices! Big Nick’s Deli and the Maiale family have been serving the neighborhood for more than four decades. One thing that hasn’t changed at this local spot is the quality food, friendly service, and familiar faces you’ll see at the store every day. BIG NICK’S DELI 1311 W. MOYAMENSING AVE 215-952-2500


Petal Pusher Florist & Decorators • Flowers for All Occasions As Beautiful as a Memory

Call for a Complimentary Consultation


John & JoAnn Vacca

2515 S. Broad Street, Philadelphia, PA 19148

Flowers for all occasions

Celebrating 50 years January /February /March 2024




Martorano’s Prime and Riversuites are making a New Year’s resolution for Rivers Casino — big wins in 2024. With high-end dining and a brand-new, luxurious boutique hotel, guests now have the flexibility to stay, play and dine at Rivers. First, Martorano’s Prime opened in Fishtown to rave reviews. South Philly native Steve Martorano

fuses his renowned Italian-American menu with high-end steakhouse staples. And now the opening of Riversuites takes Rivers to the next level. And, odds are, you haven’t seen anything like it. Hotel guests enjoy upscale suites — and only suites — that are apartment-style accommodations with one-, two- and three-bedroom options. Every suite has a fully equipped kitchenette,

while several feature patios and bi-level lofts. As for the steakhouse, Martorano takes pride in providing a restaurant experience that hits all the senses — while guests enjoy richly flavored dishes, the smell of authentic ItalianAmerican cooking fills the air, old-school movies are on screens throughout the restaurant and hip music plays in the background. It’s a vibe you will find only at Martorano’s Prime.

You’ll Love Martorano’s on Valentine’s Day Steve and his team have cooked up a special Valentine’s Day prix fixe menu that’s highlighted by Martorano’s surf and turf. It’s a three-course meal for $135 per person with the following choices:

Antipasti — roasted beet salad, Wellfleet oysters, beef carpaccio, or baked clams Martorano

Main Course — Martorano’s surf and turf; black sea bass alla puttanesca; 12 oz. veal chop and shrimp Sinatra; and chicken francaise Dessert — crema catalan or chocolate mousse

JOIN THE CULINARY EXCELLENCE AT MARTORANO’S PRIME SEEKING TOP-TIER COOKS, SERVERS & ASSISTANT SERVERS WITH FINE DINING EXPERTISE! Martorano’s Prime at Rivers Casino Philadelphia is looking for individuals with the best fine dining experience, including cooks, servers, assistant servers, greeters, and food runners. Here’s what applicants can expect: Cooks with fine dining experience can make up to $30 an hour. Servers can make $8 an hour. Assistant servers can make $6 an hour.


| ROWHOME MAGAZINE | January /February /March 2024

Please note that servers receive a base salary in addition to tips. Additionally, Rivers is offering a $2,000 sign-on bonus* for any new Team Members hired in food and beverage positions. Please visit for more information regarding positions and benefits, which include medical and dental plans, a 401(k), paid time off, weekly paychecks, free parking, tuition reimbursement, a referral program and more. *$500 when Team Members start, $500 after 6 months of employment, and $1,000 after one year.

Rivers Casino Philadelphia is a member of the Philadelphia RowHome Magazine (PRH) Business Network.

One magical moment A lifetime of memories Andrew Paul - Photographer A proud member of the Philadelphia RowHome Magazine team

484.614.1952 a p a n d r e o z z i p h o t o g r a p h y

. c o m

Alana & Anthony Retallick A Microphone & Memories at The Down Town Club PRH Brides Guide

by Joe Volpe


| ROWHOME MAGAZINE | January /February /March 2024

Hello Brides Guide readers! We are thrilled to introduce you to Alana and Anthony Retallick, a lovely couple from the realm of Cescaphe. Their special day took place at The Down Town Club, where every detail matched their passion and enthusiasm. Their energy and personal touches were evident in each element from beginning to end. Their stunning wedding photos hardly capture the sheer beauty of a night they will always remember.

VENDOR CREDITS Venue: The Down Town Club by Cescaphe

Invitations/Stationery: Minted

Groom’s Wear Designer: Rudi’s Formal Wear

Photographer: Siobhan Stanton Photography

Transportation: Philadelphia Sightseeing Tours Trolley and First Class Limo

Additional Vendors: Victory One Productions, Elegance Quartet, House of Venus Beauty, Mane Bridal, DayDream Bridal, Sermania Jewelry.

Florist: Beautiful Blooms Band/DJ: TD Sound Productions (Timmy DeSimone)

Dress Designer: Jane Hill Bridal

How did the proposal happen? We were on the beach in Miami in the pouring rain. On our car ride to dinner, Anthony insisted that we make a stop at South Pointe Park Pier for a “picture.” Since we were both dressed for dinner and it was pouring rain, I suggested we come back another time, but eventually I agreed. We walked along the path for a bit until he grabbed my hands and took a knee. The rain stopped just long enough for him to propose and for us to actually take some pictures.

How did you meet? We met in high school and eventually rekindled our relationship while I was in college. The first three years of our relationship were long distance and full of countless PHL to NYC Greyhound bus trips.

Why did you choose a Cescaphe wedding? We chose a Cescaphe wedding because after attending so many other Cescaphe weddings and events over the years, we knew the kind of quality we could expect. From the drinks to the food, to the service, Cescaphe knows what it takes to host an event that everyone will love.

January /February /March 2024


What was your favorite part of your wedding? We could highlight so many special moments, but I think we’d both agree that our favorite part was getting up on the stage next to our DJ to serenade our guests. There is nothing Anthony loves more than a microphone and a crowd.

What was your favorite part about wedding planning? The end! Walking into The Down Town Club for the first time on our wedding day was incredible. The room looked fantastic, and we were so proud to see over two years of planning and preparation finally come together.

What did you do to make your wedding day extra special? We included our French Bulldog, Peach, in some of the festivities! Peach joined us for photos at the venue shortly before the ceremony and they are some of our favorite photos from the day.


What advice would you give to future brides and grooms? Everyone will say it, but it truly is YOUR day, so treat it that way! Choose the vendors, decor, and menu items that mean the most to you and your partner. Your guests will have fun no matter what! Cescaphe is a member of the PRH Business Network.

Ever keeping his eyes focused on the latest wedding trends, Cescaphe CEO/Chef Joseph Volpe is recognized as the area’s leading authority on ballroom bliss. Creating Once-in-a-Lifetime, Distinctive Events with Genuine Care and Passion, Treating Our Guests Like Family as We Exceed Their Expectations. Visit or call 215.238.5750.


| ROWHOME MAGAZINE | January /February /March 2024


Bold Eye Colors


from the


Light Up a Cold Night

SWANCATERERS Family-owned & operated for more than 50 years by VICTORIA DIPIETRO

In the winter, you need to adjust your routine for colder, drier weather. A good skincare routine is a great place to start. Use a hydrating cleanser, a moisturizer, and consider incorporating a hydrating serum into your routine. La Roche-Posay Hyalu B5 Serum is pure hyaluronic acid. It hydrates and visibly plumps the skin to improve the look of fine lines.

Foundation. Now that your skin is healthy and glowing, you need a solid foundation. Opt for a dewy or luminous foundation to give your skin a healthy, hydrated look. Matte foundations can sometimes emphasize dry patches, so a dewy finish is better suited for the winter months. NARS Light Reflecting Foundation blurs imperfections, smooths the look of textured skin, and helps conceal blemishes, dark spots, and redness. It’s a great choice for the season.

Blush. Cream blushes are perfect for winter as they add a natural flush to the skin. They blend seamlessly and provide a more hydrating finish compared to powder blushes. I love the brand Ilia because the entire line is clean makeup. There are no harsh chemicals or fragrances. They have a Multi Stick Cream Highlighter + Lip Tint that is fabulous! It’s a buildable wash of color for cheeks and lips— with a much-needed luminous finish.

Lip Colors. Choose lip products that are moisturizing and provide hydration. Creamy lipsticks, tinted lip balms or glosses can keep your lips looking soft and prevent them from becoming dry and chapped.

Eyeshadow. This is the time to experiment with bolder colors to light up those cold

nights. Deep jewel tones, metallics, and smoky eyes can add drama to your look. Consider incorporating rich colors like deep purples, blues, and emerald greens. Revlon Illuminance Crème Shadow is a great choice. They have a variety of colors for all seasons and for under $10, you can’t go wrong.

Brows. Well-defined brows can frame your face and enhance your overall look. Use a waterproof eyebrow pencil or gel to ensure your brows stay put in case of rain or snow. Sephora Collection Retractable Eyebrow Pencil is waterproof and comes in 12 different colors for just $12.

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Setting Spray. Lock in your makeup with a setting spray to prevent it from smudging throughout the day. This is especially important in cold weather when your makeup may be exposed to a harsh environment.

Protect Your Skin. Don’t forget your sunscreen, even in winter. UV rays can still harm your skin. And of course, make sure to drink plenty of water to stay hydrated from the inside out. Remember, makeup is a form of self-expression so feel free to adapt these tips to your personal style and preference and enjoy experimenting with different looks this winter. Here’s hoping the ice isn’t the only thing sparkling!

Victoria DiPietro, Bella Angel Bridal Hair & Makeup, is a member of the Philadelphia RowHome (PRH) Magazine Business Network.

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HOT WAVES SALON Styles may change but service is their signature by Rachel Porter


In 1986, Hot Waves Salon opened its doors with four salon chairs and a lot of determination. Today, owner Diane Bosco has transformed multiple salon locations into one flagship shop at 1200 W. Ritner Street, in the heart of a neighborhood she knows and loves. The secret to the success of a local business celebrating 38 years is based on a need to know. Bosco notes that she and her stylists are consistent when it comes to keeping track of changing trends and a growing client base. “I consider myself an educator, first,” she says. “Then, a great hair designer who knows how to motivate people whether they’re a client or employee.” Hot Waves Salon continually welcomes guest artists who drop by to teach the latest trends and popular techniques, each season. Bosco personally guides her team throughout the year, and they all have the same training background. Bosco also requires stylists to take classes outside the salon and study online. “It keeps us stimulated and we can offer our guests the very latest,” Bosco says. Back in the day, when perms were popular, Hot Waves booked an average of 20 a day. As trends changed and perms – now, down to around four a year – waned, the salon transitioned with the fashion forecasts. Today, Bosco and her team are known for their expertise in coloring and hair extension services. The products they sell, including smoothing creams, shampoos, and conditioners, are considered comparable to pharmaceutical level. The salon currently carries the Redken brand and anticipates a new addition to their lineup, Acidic Bonding, which keeps hair at a natural PH level, adds shine, and boosts elasticity. Hot Waves hosts annual fundraisers and in-house competitions to challenge the team to think outside the box on creating a particular hairstyle. For 2024, they’ll be featuring “crazy colors.” “I am absolutely nothing without my team,” Bosco says. “We are a well-oiled machine. Every one of them contributes to keeping our doors open and providing excellent customer service. We are nothing without our clients, as well.” PRH


| ROWHOME MAGAZINE | January /February /March 2024

Robin Mitchell

Certified New Home Specialist

2 New Luxury Townhouses in

Ventnor Only 1 block to the beach Ocean views Elevator and 2 car parking Reduced!

The history of

THE NECKTIE Tying the Knot for More than 700 Years by John Nacchio Tie one on for the New Year! The necktie is truly evolutionary within each era. In all its variations, it has an intriguing lifestyle history for men wearing it. Women have certainly ventured jointly in this history with added flare and a fashionable dash of mystic and mystery. The trend first started several hundred years ago and was associated with military might. Strangely, at its core, it is purely a decorative accessory that doesn’t keep us warm or dry, and certainly does not add comfort. But then again, clothing overall can be best understood in the context of accenting or enhancing body image for men as well as for women. In the high tech, less formal 21st century, necktie clothing certainly is not part of the current modern hip urban swag ensemble. In fact, for the last century, the necktie and all its variations have been declared a dying fashion item. Yet, hundreds of thousands of ties are manufactured and sold each year, with men and women around the world wearing them professionally or as an exciting fashion item. Ties are so popular in the United States, we lead the neckwear industry in revenue, raking in $812 million every year. The UK follows with $298 million; Germany ($124 million); France ($81 million); and Italy ($67 million). Have you ever wondered why people wear ties? Did you ever ask yourself how this style trend evolved?

1600-1800. The necktie that first spread from Europe traces back to Croatian mercenaries serving in France during the Thirty Years’ War. These mercenaries from the Military Frontier wore

traditional small, knotted neckerchiefs. Parisians were curious and soon the necktie gained popularity, known as “cravat” (cravate in French) and in England, they were popularized as the Ascot.

1900-1959. The tie was a must-have accessory! In the 1920s, a NY tiemaker created a new way of cutting the fabric when constructing a tie that would allow the tie to return to its original shape after each wearing. This invention triggered the creation of many new tie knots. In 1936, The Duke of Windsor invented the Windsor knot and established a new standard.

1960-1999. Ties as wide as 6 inches were

Talia RoTa PhoTogRaPhy @taltography 267.240.5302

not uncommon. There was a resurgence in the 1980s. In the 1990s, ties fell out of favor due to many tech-based companies allowing a more casual dress environment.

2000-2023. Did President Obama personally kill off the necktie by making it an optional item in the Oval Office? Former British Prime Minister David Cameron also mentioned it merely as an accessory of choice. The COVID19 pandemic had a significant impact on the fashion industry with many people working from home. However, it is still an ideal accessory for uniform-attire schools, religious ceremonies, interviews, and other formal events. Today, ties are available in many widths, cuts, fabrics, patterns, and designs. It’s all about choice and expressing your own personal style. Will neckties have a renewal and rebirth in the next generation of fashion for both men and women? PRH

Let’s tie one on!

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January /February /March 2024




MOISTURE MATTERS Treat Skin to a Weekly Hydrating Mask

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by Nicole Massimiani

b l u s h e v e n ta r t i s t ry . c o m

Winter brings cozy sweaters, hot cocoa, and the magic of snowfall, but it also brings challenges for your skin. The cold, dry air and harsh winds can leave your complexion feeling dull and parched. However, with a thoughtful winter skincare routine, you can maintain a radiant and healthy glow. Here are some essential tips to keep your skin luminous all season long.

Hydration is Key. Cold air can strip your skin of its natural moisture, so it’s crucial to stay well-hydrated from the inside out. Drink plenty of water throughout the day to keep your skin hydrated and supple.

Gentle Cleansing.


Board Members! Looking forward to an exciting


Opt for a mild, hydrating cleanser to gently cleanse your face. Avoid using hot water, as it can strip your skin of natural oils.

Moisturize, Moisturize, Moisturize. Invest in a rich and nourishing moisturizer to combat winter dryness. Look for ingredients like hyaluronic acid, ceramides, and glycerin to lock in moisture and create a protective barrier against the cold.

Protect with SPF. Don’t forget the sunscreen, even in winter. UV rays can still cause damage, especially when reflected off snow.

Exfoliate Mindfully. Incorporate a gentle exfoliation routine into your skincare regimen to slough off dry, dead skin cells. This helps your moisturizer penetrate more effectively, leaving your skin smoother and more radiant.

Humidify your Indoor Space. Counteract the dry indoor air by using a humidifier. This helps maintain an optimal level of moisture in your home, preventing your skin from drying out.

Protect your Lips. The delicate skin on your lips is particularly susceptible to winter dryness. Keep them soft and supple by using a nourishing lip balm. I have also been loving NYX brand lip oil!

Warm Showers, Not Hot. While a hot shower might be tempting in winter, it can strip your skin of essential oils. Opt for warm showers and limit duration to prevent further moisture loss.

Add Hydrating Masks. Treat your skin to a weekly hydrating mask to replenish moisture. Look for masks containing ingredients like aloe vera, honey, or hyaluronic acid for an extra boost.

Healthy Lifestyle Choices. Maintain a healthy lifestyle by incorporating nutrient-rich foods into your diet. Foods high in omega-3 fatty acids, vitamins A and E, and antioxidants contribute to radiant skin. Winter skincare is all about protection, hydration, and pampering. By adjusting your skincare routine to combat the challenges of the season, you can maintain a luminous complexion that radiates health and vitality. Embrace these tips and let your skin glow even when the snow is falling.

Blush Artistry is a member of the Philadelphia RowHome Magazine (PRH) Business Network.


| ROWHOME MAGAZINE | January /February /March 2024




Jelani Remy (as Goldie Wilson) and the cast of Back to the Future: The Musical, by Matthew Murphy and Evan Zimmerman, 2023

Great Scott! Broadway is going Back to the Future, this season. Montclair State University graduate and New Jersey native Jelani Remy takes on not one, but two roles in the new Broadway hit at the Winter Garden Theatre. We talked to Remy about growing up in New Jersey, if he was a Back to the Future fan before doing the show, and why this movie works as a musical. Tickets are available at

Q: Growing up in New Jersey, did you see a lot of Broadway shows? What’s your earliest theatre memory? a: I saw a few shows on Broadway thanks to school field trips! I remember going to see The Civil War in the fourth grade because of our social studies class. I can’t say it was my favorite show, but I remember my wonder and excitement of being inside a theater and then the lights dimming and the orchestra playing. It was absolutely transformative. A few years later, I was in a summer theater program at The Paper Mill Playhouse where I nurtured my passion and found my purpose.

Q: Tell us about your different roles in Back to the Future: The Musical.

a: I get to play the iconic roles of Goldie Wilson (played by Donald Fullilove in the movie) and Marvin Berry (played by Harry Waters Jr. in the movie). Goldie, to me, is the heart of this show. He spreads this message of positivity and self-strength to ignite a movement to George, the entire town, and the audience! He is an underdog who worked hard and made his dream come true! Marvin is the hilarious uncle from the block who has seen it all and brings a comic soul to Act Two. Both roles are so much fun to work on, and I love how different they are.

Q: Were you a fan of the Back to the Future movies prior to joining the Broadway cast? a: I thought I was a fan! However, the fans who have come to see this show over 20 times have let me know

PRH talks to actor Jelani Remy about his dual role in this Broadway hit by Marialena Rago

by Marialena Rago

that I simply was not, and am not, on their level. Now, I believe I am.

Q: Why did you want to be a part of this production? a: I wanted to be part of this production after I heard the song, “You Gotta Start Somewhere.” I was at a point in my life for new beginnings, and the song truly called me.

Q: Do you have a favorite song or scene in Back to the Future? a: That’s hard because there are so many bops, but one of my favorites is “It Works” performed by Roger Bart (Doc Brown) and the DeLorean Girls.

Q: What do you think makes this musical such a success? Why does this movie translate so well to the stage? a: I think this musical is such a success because it is for the entire family! You all can relive this classic movie, or see it for the first time, and enjoy the technical musical phenomenon that it is! There’s so much to see and so much fun to be had!

Q: This is your third Broadway show! How do you think you have grown as a performer? a: Oof! Tremendously! I feel like every show I have done has groomed me for the next adventure, and Back to the Future feels so fitting and appropriate.

Q: While in The Lion King, you had a vlog. Why did you feel it was important to document your day to day as a Broadway performer for the fans? a: Because as a young performer, it’s important to show what goes into our performances and lives on a day-today basis, to inspire and inform the next crop of storytellers and show them this incredible community.

Q: If you were mayor of any city, what would be your first order of business? a: Arts Education in our schools. It is such a needed creative outlet that connects people of all backgrounds and walks of life. PRH

January /February /March 2024



RHYTHM & BLUES PRESERVATION SOCIETY Helping the Arts Thrive into the Future

by Geno Thackara


erry Thompson sounds like a fellow who is used to keeping a lot of plates spinning. When he finds a little time to chat with RowHome, he exudes a brisk energy that practically hums through the phone line. We catch him during a crazy week in the lead-up to a very special occasion. His brainchild, the Rhythm and Blues Preservation Society, is having a founder’s


gala and concert to celebrate its fifth anniversary. It isn’t some kind of selfcongratulatory pageant, though. All the nonprofit’s funds go to support its cultural mission, and the event is centered around a toy drive to collect holiday gifts for Atlantic City kids. If that makes his life fairly packed at the moment, Thompson sounds grateful for the craziness. The R&BPS has made a mark in these five years by spreading the love not just for the music itself, but providing support for the practical, cultural, financial, and business-y ways that help it exist in the world. “It’s something I’d wanted to do for a number of years,” he recalls. “I started saving my pennies around 2015. It’s not cheap starting up an arts society. It took a long time until December 18, 2018, when we were officially incorporated as a nonprofit.” To sum up the mission, he explains, “We’re very adamant about preservation of all kinds of Black music culture and history - R&B, jazz, hip-hop, reggae, gospel, every-


thing. Black music has touched everyone’s lives. It’s influenced every other music around the country and the world, so we want to do our part to honor those who are part of it. If you’re a singer or musician, a writer, a journalist, it’s not about how many records you’ve sold or how many awards you’ve won. We want to honor those who contribute to the culture of Black music in any way.” If the name might suggest a view on the past, he makes it clear the mission is most of all about helping the arts thrive into the future. “We’ve done quite a bit,” he humbly says with a chuckle, happily giving plenty of credit to vice-president Dr. Sonja Elise Freeman for her publicity-diva skills. “We’ve done lectures and written articles on this music. We’ve had workshops and educational programs, teaching the kids on the business of music, as well. We’re recognized as members of the National Association for Music Education. One of our goals is to have an African-American music-studies degree program throughout all universities by 2030.

| ROWHOME MAGAZINE | January /February /March 2024

“This past June, which is recognized as Black Music Month, we had a national library curation campaign in which we had 15-20 universities nationwide curate books on Black music at their libraries,” Thompson continues. “They were very excited to do it. There were five universities in New Jersey alone, and also King’s College and the Barbican Music Library in London did it, as well. London does not even officially acknowledge that month - that’s an American tradition. But because of my organization, they were very excited to participate.” To complement the celebration in June, he explains, “We did the same thing this past November for Hip-hop History Month. We had universities around the country curate books on hip-hop.” Soon enough, you’ll also see them celebrating Black History Month in February and observing Jazz Appreciation Month when it rolls around in April. Give it a little more time and they’ll soon have a cultural touchstone to feature through every month of the year. While they’re finding things to fill every month, Thompson and the Society have an eye on spreading through every state, as well. He mentions other nascent chapters starting in New York, Texas, and Colorado, and with any luck, the London con-

nection will grow into more branches across other continents. “We’re looking to start more chapters. We want it to be a true society, a national and a global society. It’s very important to have young people involved in building a society around this culture. “We also want to open a museum, a preservation center, to showcase the history of African-American music. We’re definitely looking for funds for that,” he smoothly adds, always conscious of the need to be practical. “Everything is taxdeductible and much appreciated. Anyone who wants to work with us, we’re happy to have you!” While they figure out the logistics of that, the Society’s next immediate focus is its first event for 2024. “We’re having a Young, Gifted and Black talent showcase,” he enthuses. “February 25th is R&B Preservation Society Day in Atlantic City, which is the birthday of Nina Simone, the jazz legend. We’ll have the youth of Atlantic City showcase their talent and it’ll involve scholarships for the winners.” By the time that event comes, there will doubtlessly be other things also in the works to continue keeping everyone’s hands (and hearts) full. Look for the handle RBPSOC on Facebook, Youtube, Twitter/X or anywhere else across the socialmedia world to follow along. PRH


Strikes the Perfect Balance

by Rachel Porter


ince Angelica Spilis was a child, all she could do was dream about dancing. She took lessons in every type of dance - tap, jazz, modern dance, contemporary dance, hip hop, and Irish step-dancing. After high school, she pursued a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree followed by a Master’s at Temple University. After graduating in 2014, Spilis opened her own dance studio.


“I enjoyed teaching and choreographing,” she says. “So, it felt like the opening of the studio would give me that creativity.” Finding a suitable space for the studio and making it all come together was a challenge. But, when Spilis found the perfect spot on South Broad Street, she got to work redoing the floors, painting, and adding mirrors. She officially opened in 2016. Equilibrium Dance Academy offers youth and adult classes at its studio, which also serves as the perfect space to host or rent parties of all types. Youth programs run September to June, leading to a recital at Fringe Arts on Columbus Boulevard. The 10-month commitment for the classes is to ensure the kids learn the foundation and work on the dances correctly, as well as have fun. To sign up for the youth classes, the kids need to be at least three years old and can attend until they turn 18.

Adult classes run 8-10 week sessions throughout the year. These are 18+, however, the unique Tappy Hour popup classes are strictly over 21. Spilis came up with the idea last year on the last day for one of her adult classes where she offered wine and snacks. Some of her class members brought snacks of their own and it ended up being such a fun night that she introduced Tappy Hour classes in between regular sessions. Visit the studio’s website for upcoming pop-ups. Equilibrium is a professional contemporary company with Spilis as the artistic director. On March 22nd and March 23rd, the studio will host its spring concert with all the adult professional dancers. Students are welcome to come and watch. “It’s a great opportunity for them [to observe] if they want to continue dancing as part of their career path,” Spilis says. If someone wants to book a party, one option is for the studio’s staff members to host the event as a dance party. This

includes an hour of dance, and then another hour of playing dance-style games. Options to rent the hall and host your own party are also available. This year, Equilibrium Dance Academy expanded to an additional floor and created a third studio room. With the additional space on the ground floor, Spilis plans to sell more dance attire and add dressing rooms for the kids. “This is our 8th season. I’m really proud of what I accomplished. I’m really thankful a lot of the students have been with us and spreading the word for how great the studio is,” Spilis says. The dance company, a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization, aims to provide people with an opportunity to participate in an artistry environment and be part of something bigger within the community. Equilibrium Dance Company wants to create a deeper connection with people through movement and inspire others to use dance as a form of self-expression. This professional, contemporary-based dance company has performed at the Sprout Your Awareness Fundraiser, Please Touch Museum, Code Red, and the Philadelphia Fringe Festival. PRH Equilibrium Dance Company is a member of the Philadelphia RowHome Magazine (PRH) Business Network.

January /February /March 2024




Philly dance studio

PRH POPUP POLL Name a Movie you Love, but most people haven’t heard of...


1309 West Moyamensing Avenue Philadelphia, PA. 19148



Ballet • Tap • Jazz • Hip Hop Lyrical • Acro • Cheer Theatre • Pre-Ballet/Tap

We asked our readers and writers… Name a movie you love, but most people haven’t heard of?

• Joseph Myers: Lost in Translation Gattaca 1408

• Dan Vanore: Fighting Father Dunn The Next Voice You Hear The short film, Star In The Night

• Chris Rosato: The Mystery of Edwin Drood (1935)

• Louise Gentile:

Hawaii, just before the attack on Pearl Harbor. Very thought-provoking. If you had the chance to change history, would you do it? Zorro, the Gay Blade. It’s funny. It’s kind of offensive, it’s awesome. Best Zorro movie ever, and I’ve seen most of them. Saved! Almost everyone I’ve mentioned it to has never heard of it. It should be required viewing for every kid once they turn 16. Anna and the Apocalypse. A Christmas musical about zombies that take over a small English town. Anna is a local high schooler who battles the zombies while singing and wielding a giant candy cane lawn decoration as a weapon.

mob boss after his mother passes away and his father, an abusive alcoholic, is run out of town. Feast of the Seven Fishes. It follows an Italian family on Christmas Eve as they prepare for the traditional feast.

• Tony Mecca: The Big Empty

• Joseph Lucas: Taking Chances

• Tony Santini: Mafioso: The Father, the Son. By local guy Sal Mazzotta! The Great Santini. Another personal favorite (for obvious reasons) and one that rarely appears on local or cable TV.

Sound of Freedom

• Denise Vanore: The Ghost and Mrs. Muir

• Lou Pinto:

• Mark Sassano:

• Mitzi Jackson:

The Way Back The Mighty Secondhand Lions My Bodyguard

Blind Eye Artist. The story of a local Artist from Philly. Amazing story.

• Patty Cally Phelan:

29th Street

• Rick Baccare: • Wendy Hamilton:

• Barbara Gray:


• Tom Jordan: • Jane Roser:



2504 S. Broad St. Philadelphia, PA 19145

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The Hasty Heart. There’s an ornery, hot Scotsman who plays the bagpipes in it. Also, weirdly, Ronald Reagan. It’s based on a Broadway play and is one of my favorite films ever. Sweet Liberty. A history teacher wrote a best-selling book about the American Revolution. A Hollywood film crew comes to town to make a movie based on it. Chaos ensues. Very fun! The Final Countdown. I love this movie. I watch it every year. A modern aircraft carrier is thrown back in time to 1941

| ROWHOME MAGAZINE | January /February /March 2024

Turk 182

Somebody Up There Likes Me An Affair to Remember (1957)


• Maria Merlino: • Joei DeCarlo DiSanto: Barefoot in the Park. It’s based on Neil Simon’s play and instantly puts me in a good mood whenever I watch it. It is in my top 5!

• Joe Campese: 12 Angry Men

• Nadine E. DeClerico-Reighn: The Mirror Has Two Faces

• John Nacchio: Back in the Day. A young boxer is taken under the wing of a

Conflict. The film revolves around an architect played by Humphrey Bogart who is consumed by the guilt of unrequited love and progressively descends into a debilitating mental disorder. The movie explores the journey of a ruthless man who believes he has murdered his wife as he gets ensnared in a whirlpool of hints that could lead to a startling revelation. Conflict offers a truly engaging enigma for those craving a suspense-filled plot.

by Geno Thackara



t’s an interesting maxim of art - an unofficial rule that I may or may not have just made up - that a lot of the most successful runs at posterity come from people who aren’t aiming for posterity. Sure, J.S. Bach probably had an inkling that his worship songs could stand as an expression of timeless faith even after he himself wasn’t around anymore. For a counterexample, the earliest Charlie Brown holiday specials also have become perennial staples even though they were thrown together at the last minute on a budget of loose sofa change. If anything, that’s key to the charm - the Peanuts crew never would have captured that certain playful magic if they’d been super-conscious that the work might still be watched decades later. The point is you never know when or why something is going to last. When Randy Childress worked for the Philly 76ers’ organization as a teenager, he never said to himself, “I’m gonna write a music theme for these guys someday.” He just bounced along the way many youngsters do, selling tickets for the basketball game one night, then hanging out and playing music with his buddies the next. Fellow Delaware County residents Joe Sherwood and Tony Rocap joined him in a trio called Fresh Aire (not to be confused with Mannheim Steamroller’s series of elevator-lite holiday albums, thankyouverymuch), and they gigged around town while scoring a few ad jingles on the side. When the Sixers’ general manager got the idea of producing a catchy tune to advertise the team, it seemed only natural to ask someone that was right there in-house already. The trio figured it would be a fun little job for the week and that would be the end of it. There’s a light-heartedness that only happens with no time to overthink things. They wisely avoided getting very specific with the words. The only name mentioned was that of the team itself, which meant it could stay current no matter which players came and went. It was meant as a catchy introductory jingle to warm up the crowd when the players came out on the court. With the team coming out of a slump from the previous few seasons, a bright rah-rah piece was just what everyone needed. They spent a week kicking ideas around and got approval to cut it in a studio. There isn’t one magic formula for a good earworm, but any music person knows some of the ingredients: brevity, repetition, a good hook, a rhythm that’s easy to feel. Bonus points if you can encourage the audience to start doing something altogether, such as clapping hands or stomping feet. It helps that a sports game is the perfect place to encourage everyone to get excited and make noise. The

kiddos have permission to run all over the place without (hopefully) getting in too much trouble, and the adults have a space where it’s socially acceptable to scream their heads off. Likewise, “Here Come the Sixers” itself has that same appeal for all ages. Rocap’s jangly piano creates an insistent beat right from the start, modeled around the steady thump-thump of a ball being dribbled across the floor. The melody is simple and short enough to stand through a good few repeats. They added a dash of funk - the newest flavor of the day - courtesy of some bouncy clavinet keyboard and wahwah guitar, which somehow still feel fresher than such ‘70s tones really have a right to be. The tune is not childlike, exactly, but it suits the wholesome charm you get from a stadium of people coming together for a good time. A chorus pops up singing backing lines throughout, which means anybody can sing along or call-and-answer if they want. The counting chants - “One, two, three, four, five, sixers / ten, nine, eight, seventy-sixers” - are simple enough to pick up in half a minute, while maybe also evoking a little nostalgic glow from your time watching Sesame Street or Schoolhouse Rock. It would have been natural for one decade’s little time capsule to simply disappear after trends changed. Even in the pre-internet era, though, this one stuck in enough people’s memories too much to go away completely. When the hoopsters found themselves again on an upswing in the early 2010s, the new management decided on some small forms of nostalgic self-celebration, such as bringing back a few old logos and uniform styles. Angelo Cataldi dug up Fresh Aire’s song for 94WIP sports radio a few years before, really as a quirky memento more than anything else, and so there were already fans out there asking for more. Bringing it back to the official franchise was only the next natural step. As per another rule of art, anything can and will come back around when the time is ripe. After a decade back in rotation, “Here Come the Sixers” feels as much a staple as stadium snacks - or even better, because a) enjoying a fun song has no inflated price tag, and b) the home-office staff was smart enough to make it a victory song instead of a pre-game fixture every night. A reward always feels more special when it doesn’t happen all the time. When fans hear those high E chords come over the speakers, it’s an extra treat because it means their team has won the day. It’s all a pretty impressive impact for what started as a one-week job. Those Delaware County teens never expected to be heard so widely after so long, but today, they’re still happy that posterity came for them even when they weren’t looking. PRH

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January /February /March 2024



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Although nonstop music may not be playing in the streets like you see in the movies, we can promise you’ll find love in the air while strolling the streets of Paris. Experience exquisite dining and luxury accommodations in the heart of the city. Mosey through the Musee d’Orsay, lavish at the Mona Lisa, and sip champagne in front of the Eiffel Tower. Home of the 2024 Olympics, Paris is a popular destination that attracts travelers from around the world.

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| ROWHOME MAGAZINE | January /February /March 2024

THAILAND Take a moment to reflect on your amazing wedding celebration in a dreamy-like resort in Thailand. Indulge in a couples’ spa treatment during your stay to recharge and unwind. The ocean is your playground in Thailand, from snorkeling, diving & windsurfing, there is an activity for everyone. Travel with Pam Draper is a member of the Philadelphia RowHome (PRH) Magazine Business Network.



Uneeda Sign?


teve Calabrese always loved art. As the owner of “Uneeda Sign,” located on 10th and Bigler in South Philadelphia, he’s responsible for some of the most famous signs in the City. Calabrese recalled his days right after high school when he spent time in Wildwood painting signs on the boardwalk. He would then come back to the city where he began painting billboards for different companies. In the beginning, most, if not all, of the work was hand-painted and hand-lettered. Calabrese explained how things evolved over the years. “I started painting billboards for companies here and there and just got into hand painting,” Calabrese said. “Everything was hand-lettered, then it changed over to vinyl, and I got into that. Then I went into awning fabrication, electric signs and doing channel letters. I pretty much expanded to doing everything in the sign business. We fabricate everything in our own shop, and it works out pretty good that way.” Calabrese’s work includes iconic signs for local landmarks like Geno’s Steaks, Pat’s Steaks, Tony & Nick’s [Formerly Tony Luke’s], and even some franchises for Primo Hoagies. In addition to these signs and many other businesses in Philly, he does a lot of work for the Mummers Brigades. “I’ve been doing a lot of set designs and paintings for the Mummers [on New Year’s Day]. I’ve done a lot of Brigades over the years where I just painted all the floats and designed a lot of stuff for them,” he said. Most recently, Calabrese has worked as a subcontractor for Capital Floors on basketball gym floors for the NBA in-season tournament - the Philadelphia 76ers, Washington Wizards, New York Knicks, Brooklyn Nets, and a few G-League teams, as well. “I had the in-season courts for the Sixers, the red one that they are using for the tournament,” Calabrese said. “I also did the New York Knicks city court and the orange in-season court for the Knicks. I worked on the Washington Wizards G-league court and the Westchester Knicks for their G-league.” Calabrese explained that teams will send the designs for whatever they want on the court and from there, he makes his patterns up and heads out to paint the court. Seeing his work when watching a game on television makes him realize how rewarding his career is. “It’s kind of neat to see something that you accomplished. It’s a good feeling, seeing your work out there,” he says. PRH


Local Artist has you Covered

by Anthony Panvini

January /February /March 2024



New Mural pays tribute to

PHILLIES’ DICK ALLEN photos copyright © 2023 The Phillies. All Rights Reserved.


ural Arts Philadelphia, along with the City of Philadelphia and the Philadelphia Phillies, recently unveiled the design of a new mural coming to 2221 S. Broad Street that will pay tribute to MLB seven-time All-Star Richard “Dick” Allen. Allen played with the Phillies from 1963 to 1969, and again from 1975-1976. His number, 15, was retired in 2020 after his passing. In addition to the Phillies, Allen played for the St. Louis Cardinals, the Los Angeles Dodgers, the Chicago White Sox, and the Oakland Athletics. He won National League Rookie of the Year in 1964. Alongside his baseball career, he was a professional singer with “Rich Allen and The Ebonistics.” The new mural, by artist Ernel Martinez, will measure about 2,000 sq. ft. and will be located near Citizens Bank Park. There will be a formal dedication at a community celebration in the spring. December 7th, the day of the unveiling, also marked the third anniversary of Allen’s passing. Family members - son Richard Allen, Jr. and Eron “Button” Allen and widow Willa Allen - joined Mayor Kenney, City Representative Sheila Hess, Jane Golden, and the Phillie Phanatic to unveil the design with the community. PRH


| ROWHOME MAGAZINE | January /February /March 2024

Calling all student athletes!

MENTORING MADE EASY by Anthony Panvini

One of the most difficult decisions for any high school student is choosing a college or university. Being a student-athlete can make this decision even more difficult. Not only do they have to choose a school based on what they want to pursue as a career, but also one where they will be a good fit in the athletic program. Brothers Foster and Keegan McKoskey went through just that during their high school careers. Driven by a desire to help other students and make this process easier, McKoskey Mentoring was born.


“We are two former college baseball athletes that have been through the entire academic recruiting process,” Foster McKoskey says. “We came up with the idea of trying to start a mentoring company for high school student-athletes to help them find the best fit in the school and a program - particularly baseball because that’s where our background is. Though we have expanded a little bit to additional athletes and other sports. We want to help as many athletes as we can.” Reflecting on his time in high school, McKoskey recalled that one of the most difficult things about choosing a school is the overwhelming amount of information. Between

scholarships, recruiting services, athletics, what to look for in a school, social media, admissions, and more, students don’t always know what resources to focus on. Because of this, the brothers decided to develop McKoskey Mentoring’s Student-Athlete Handbook. “There’s information everywhere, it’s ever-changing,” McKoskey says. “We wanted to develop a handbook that students can use for all four years of high school, so they’re not going to multiple websites, not going to different baseball facilities. We wanted to make an organizational tool that could help simplify the process not only for the athlete, but also for the parents.” The handbook contains sections that focus on everything from writ-

ing emails, to calling coaches and spaces where you can write down information to track your progress throughout high school and the college application process. One of their main goals throughout the production process was producing a product that had easy to digest information. “We wanted something a highschooler can read and understand,” McKoskey says. “They can document grades, classes, and schools they are interested in. It includes not just the athletic piece, but the academic piece, as well, which is important.” Both brothers agree that being a student comes before being an athlete. The focus on selecting a school should not be solely on whether they have a Division I athletic program - something that can tempt many students during the process of selecting a school to attend. “One of our main focuses is academics, too, because that’s the biggest thing we always preach -you are a student before an athlete,” McKoskey says. “A lot of times students are so tied up in just selecting a school based on if it’s Division I or selecting a school based on a sport. The odds of making it to the major leagues are very slim, so it’s challenging, but looking at the academic piece of it and finding out what you want to do in life is the most important aspect.”

In addition to his academic and athletic background, Foster McKoskey is also a certified Mental Game Coaching Professional (MGCP) who helps athletes with improving their mental skills. “It’s extremely rewarding working with athletes and seeing them perform well mentally, in the classroom, and on the field,” McKoskey says. “We take pride in making sure the athlete is more prepared - whether it’s mental skills coaching, academic advising, or a simple purchase of our newly available handbook to help find the best fit in a school/program and be the best they can be.” McKoskey also hinted at a blog they will be rolling out soon on their website, which will include a “Career Development Chalk Talk” to feature professionals in different career fields. Students will be able to ask questions if they are interested in a particular field of study. He encourages people to subscribe to their socials to stay up to date with new content and information. PRH Instagram: @mckoskeymentoring Facebook: McKoskey Mentoring Website: McKoskey Mentoring’s StudentAthlete Handbook is available for purchase on Amazon.

January /February /March 2024




SPBA Golf Outing

photos by ANDREW ANDREOZZI The South Philadelphia Business Association held its 3rd annual Golf Outing at the Bala Golf Club this past October. Proceeds benefit the SPBA Scholarship Fund & the Juvenile Diabetes Research Fund. Taking care of business since 1897, the SPBA is open to new members. Join today. Call 267.597.7154.


| ROWHOME MAGAZINE | January /February /March 2024



a New Tradition Scores High Points with Fans

Another year in the books for the Packer Park Paisans Cornhole League! While the league is at capacity, the team welcomes spectators to take in the action. Members and fans alike want to spread the word. The neighborhood is alive with community spirit, much like the old South Philly days, connecting with people in a comfortable setting.

January /February /March 2024



Memories on Broad Street

1492 Society honors Jerry Blavat PHOTOS BY ANDREW ANDREOZZI The 1492 Society honored Jerry Blavat, “The Geator with the Heater,” at its annual dinner and parade. Memories on Broad Street kicked off a week-long celebration that included a gala dinner at Galdo’s Catering on October 5th, followed by a parade on October 8th. Guy Pigliacelli served as the parade’s Grand Marshall for Labor. Thank you to this year’s sponsors including The UNICO Village Foundation, Pat’s King of Steaks, Parx Casino, P. Agnes Builders, Chickie’s and Pete’s, United Brotherhood of Carpenters, PFCU, Steamfitters Local 420, Painters Local 21, Monti Rago Funeral Home, Elliot Greenleaf, First Trust Bank, Keystone Outdoor Advertising.


| ROWHOME MAGAZINE | January /February /March 2024


a Message from the President

SNG Enrollment Continues to Climb

by Tim Cairy ‘94 M.Ed., MPA President, Ss. Neumann-Goretti High School


he fall semester at Ss. Neumann-Goretti High School has been very eventful with so many positive activities taking place. Our football team continued to achieve at the highest level with another Catholic league title. A group of students went to Indianapolis to participate in the National Catholic Youth Conference. We celebrated Veterans Day. The school’s music program, under the guidance of Mr. Eric Proctor, debuted our Drumline at the Fall Concert. Fall highlights included the following: Neumann-Goretti Admissions The class of 2024-2025 is coming together in a great way. With 397 applications started, and 316 of those applications completed, we are on track to record the highest number of completed applications seen in the last five years. So far, 217 future Saints have been accepted. Neumann-Goretti Students at Subaru Park Students had an opportunity via Widener University and the Philadelphia Union to hear great speakers and tour the facility. This event was geared toward seniors who are interested in a career in the sports world. Veterans Day Event Our school proudly hosted a Veterans Day Prayer with Father Kenneth Cavara, school minister. We also honored Mr. Timothy Luko, ’94,

with our service award. The event was wonderful with the orchestra performing and blessing of our wreath. Mr. Luko addressed the students and asked each of them to continue their journey, use this time to build their skills and find their passion. National Catholic Youth Conference In November, 12,000 young Catholics gathered in Indianapolis for the National Catholic Youth Conference. The theme this year was Fully Alive, and participant, Olivia Roush, ‘24, truly felt fully alive with the love of Christ throughout her time at NCYC. The seven other students from Neumann Goretti agreed. Chapel of the Four Chaplains Event Ss. Neumann-Goretti High School co-hosted an information session with Business Leaders Organized for Catholic Schools (BLOCS) at the Chapel of Four Chaplains in the Philadelphia Navy Yard. Invited guests were treated to the inspiring story of the four chaplains who gave their lives in selfless service during World War II. Guests also learned about the exciting programs and renovations being done at the school, and discovered a practical way to direct their Pennsylvania state tax dollars to Neumann Goretti through the Educational Improvement Tax Credit (EITC) program. To find out more about the EITC, contact the school’s advancement director, Duke Doblick, CFRE, at 302-757-6095 or PRH

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January /February /March 2024


Name What’s in a

by Charlie Sacchetti


s I look back, it must have been in the early ’70’s. Living in our 64th and Buist Avenue row home, I recall that it was a long hot summer. There was a severe drought in Pennsylvania. The drought was so bad that KYW Radio decided to provide the public service of having an official from the Philadelphia Suburban Water Co., based in Bryn Mawr, come on the air and give daily updates and advice

as to how we could all cope with the situation. Now, these sets of facts are interesting enough, given the rarity of the events, but they were doubly intriguing to me because the guy who was giving the updates was Jerry Sacchetti, V.P. of Public Relations for the Water Co. He was both thorough and serious in presenting the bad news but still projected a friendly personality and an optimistic viewpoint. Once he came on the air, I was with my father in the living room, and I asked dad if Jerry was related to us. Dad gave a quick “no” before returning his attention to the Evening Bulletin sports page.


Up until that point, I hadn’t seen very many people with our surname who weren’t related to us, so I was even more intrigued. Who was this big shot and where was he from? I never found out, the drought eventually ended, and life went on. About 10 years later, in 1983, I began my sales career. Being an outside, commission only salesman of industrial chemicals, it was my job to go out and turn non-customers into customers! That meant making a lot of “cold calls,” which involved my walking up to perfect strangers and using techniques I was taught to find the buyer, present

| ROWHOME MAGAZINE | January /February /March 2024

and demonstrate my products, and close the sale. Not an easy task and certainly not for the faint of heart or for one who takes rejection personally. My territory was Montgomery County. I lived in Drexel Hill at the time and would go as far west as Pottstown, some 30 miles away. I had been at it for about six or eight months and in planning my sales calls for the next day, I would ride into the area and list what I considered to be calls of good potential. As I drove down Lancaster Avenue, I saw a nice building with the sign, “Philadelphia Suburban Water Co.” To me, this had some potential since I noticed company trucks outside, and a maintenance shop. I had several products that could be used, here, so I listed the water company as a stop for the next day. The following morning, as I pulled into the parking lot, I noticed a sign on the wall that read, “Reserved Sacchetti.” Now it

all came back to me from 10 years earlier. This must be for the guy who I heard on the radio that summer! As I pulled into the visitor’s spot, an idea hit me that would be a big gamble and could prove to be either a disaster or a bonanza. In sales, it is most important to get to speak with the right people who can help you. The higher up a person is in the organization, the more difficult it is to get to see him. With these facts in mind, I decided to take the plunge! I entered the building and looked at the directory. It said that Jerry Sacchetti’s office was on the top floor in the executive suite. I took the elevator and upon exiting, I saw the large circular desk that accommodated three receptionists for the executives of the company. Please realize that receptionists are trained to get rid of salespeople who just walk up to them and do not have appointments with their



boss. I knew these women were good. For a moment, I thought I saw notches carved on the desk that represented each salesman that they vanquished! However, the attractive brunette that I approached and smiled at was more than happy to accommodate me when I approached her, handed her my business card, and said, “I’D LIKE TO SEE MY UNCLE JERRY, PLEASE.” She looked at my name on the card and said, ‘Oh, certainly.’ By now, my adrenal glands were on afterburners. She asked me to wait as she entered Jerry’s office. His words rang out loudly, ‘Who the hell is this?’ I walked over to his door, threw open my arms and said, “Uncle Jerry!” He said, ‘Who the hell are you?’ I gave him a big smile, sat down, and related the whole story to him, from when I used to hear him on the radio to my spur of the moment idea to see him. He burst out laughing and congratulated me on being able to get to see him. We spoke for about an hour, cross-checking to see if we were related, somehow, talking about his being a musician, telling him about my baseball career. It was great. He was great. By the time we were through, he had given me names of people I should see in the company, at different locations, all potential buyers. I had no trouble at all regarding my initial contacts (they all got my business card, too!). Jerry had given me permission to say that I was sent by him, and I used that tactic to the fullest. Suffice it to say that I started doing business with many of the locations. In 2004, the company became a division of “Aqua America.” Sometimes hunches pay off and a drought can become a steady stream. Jerry passed away in 2006, may he rest in peace. Thanks to his graciousness and willingness to help a struggling salesman who took a bit of a chance, the company and I are still doing business today. PRH Charlie Sacchetti is the author of three books: It’s All Good: Times and Events I’d Never Want to Change; Knowing He’s There: True Stories of God’s Subtle Yet Unmistakable Touch; and his newest, Savoring the Moments: True Stories of Happiness, Sadness and Everything in Between. Contact him at

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January /February /March 2024



Out of Respect by Denise De Stefano Local author’s true account of growing up with secrets

by Tony Santini


t is never easy to recognize the struggles of people living with secrets. Secrets can be disabling on your physical, emotional, and mental health and your ability to cope. The effects of secrets are unlike those of physical disabilities and medical conditions like diabetes and heart disease. Coping with mental illness is one of the most difficult challenges one can endure. In her memoir, Out of Respect, South Philly born and raised author Denise De Stefano recounts the pain of growing up while enduring years of physical and mental abuse at the hands of her narcissistic mother and others in her life. It is also a true, first-person account of the silence she harbored to protect her father Paul De Stefano, whom she loved so dearly. If you are a fan of the fictional character Mary DiNunzio, a South Philly “Goretti Girl” created by author Lisa Scottoline in her Rosato & Associates series,


then you are going to enjoy De Stefano’s account of growing up in a predominantly Italian neighborhood in South Philly while attending a parochial grade school (Epiphany of Our Lord) and a Catholic high school (St. Maria Goretti). This book includes her many recollections of family life, traditions, and holiday gatherings, although not necessarily in her own home. If you enjoyed the movie, A Bronx Tale, and the screenplay’s author Chazz Palminteri’s somewhat autobiographical account of his childhood growing up around and sometimes a part of the stereotypical figures of Italian organized crime, then you’ll really enjoy Denise’s recall of the life lessons she learned from her father’s friends, who may, or may not, have been involved with organized crime or anything illegal. At a very young age, Denise learned how to keep things to herself. She also learned the importance of knowing your friends, who to trust, and how to take care of yourself. Denise De Stefano truly

| ROWHOME MAGAZINE | January /February /March 2024

is the female version of Calogero “C” Anello in A Bronx Tale. Finally, if you believe in God or spiritual intervention, De Stefano’s memoir will captivate you as she leans on her faith while enduring years of physical and mental abuse at the hands of her mother. Her ability to cope, function, succeed, and triumph is a testimony to her resilience and determination. Using the lessons learned from her father, a keen sense of humor, and a deep faith in God, Denise De Stefano manages to overcome many adversities. Though Out of Respect pays homage to her father, De Stefano says she wants readers to know that hers is a true tale of someone who will never forget where she came from, where she has been, or where she is going. She is a testament to the power of faith and the ability to overcome a painful past. Paperback and Kindle versions of Out of Respect are now available on or Apple iBooks. PRH


by Debbie Russino

would be simmering on the stove in a pot of gravy. This was part of our dinner every Christmas Eve and I have carried on the tradition. Nothing says Christmas Eve like crabs and spaghetti! Dinner at my house was at 6:00 when my dad closed his store, and not a minute before. We ate together as a family, every night. Life changes, but nostalgia never will. The greatest times in my life always have been the simplest. I didn’t appreciate it then, but these dinners with my family have become priceless memories I will cherish forever. I am not one to follow a recipe to the letter and I hardly ever measure. I always have been a visual haircutter and I use the same technique with cooking. It’s all about preference. If the result is a success, it shouldn’t matter how you get there. In my opinion, there is no more sincere show of love than sharing a meal together. When you cook with passion, it will be delicious, every time. The most important ingredients will not be found in a recipe, they will come straight from the heart. PRH



he winter issue of RowHome always focuses on the cuisines that satisfy our love and obsession with food. Everyone is anxious to share their recipes and that special touch added to create their own personal signature dish. I was raised in an Italian American home. Our very existence centered around food. I grew up believing life was a combination of magic and pasta. I still do. If we’re not talking about food, recipes, or the newest and best restaurants in the city, we are simply not talking. When someone goes to a wedding, the first question we ask is, “How was the food?” Everything else is secondary. We may all come from diverse cultures and different walks of life, but when it comes to a good meal, we all speak the same language. My father had a fruit and produce store connected to our home. During the Christmas season, he sold fish, crabs, shrimp, fresh chestnuts and so much more! I remember staring at the crabs as they tried to claw their way out of the wooden barrel. As a child, this was a scary sight, but I also felt sorry for them. I was well aware they soon

January /February /March 2024



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tree is married to the sun, wind, and rain, however, each one of these wives can become quite a pain. Although pain hurts, it also can become a blessing. To become blessed is an honor that helps you become whole. Sometimes, it takes a sacrifice to understand what a true blessing really is. To give of yourself each day of your life brings love to you in return – an automatic reaction from our universe. Remember, the universe is both internal and external at the same time. What a wonder to be whole when you can see how truly blessed you really are. Eeny, meeny, miny, moe, catch a piggy by his toe. If the piggy starts to holler, let him go. Remember, by the piggy hollering, you let him go. So, the pain it took for the piggy to holler caused a natural reaction, which always allows the piggy to be noticed at once in life. The universe has a natural order just waiting for you to understand. For every action, there’s always an equal or opposite reaction. These thoughts take me to another place in the grand order of space and time. That connection proves space is the resting place for all thoughts. So, as the wind blows, I realize it’s on its way to its next journey in space and time. The outcome of bringing the sun, wind, and rain together for the tree

| ROWHOME MAGAZINE | January /February /March 2024

allows for growth to occur. Wherever there is growth, there is earth. Earth is the mother of all living things on this planet. We must keep in mind that we all are nursing from the breath of our mother as we receive the milk of life while in the dark womb of our universe. This makes me recall my mother and father expressing to their 10 children this family traditional thought that is internal and external, allowing the thought of reality come into understanding. That moment I had an epiphany that I was living on earth while being in space. This allows me to make sure that your thoughts can be all over the place. So, pull yourself together and acknowledge where you are at all times. I am very thankful for my parents and their family traditions because it left with me how to become a responsible adult and a better human being. This Woodard family tradition will live with me forever in all my thoughts on earth in this human life. Family traditions last forever. As I like to say, “We are ‘One Race’ called ‘Human’ with many cultures and ethnicities and ‘One Color’ called ‘Melanin,’ which comes in many shades.” As a Human Race, we all inhabit this planet, Mother Earth. Remember, we live on Earth and Earth lives in space. It’s our only home. There is no other place to live in the Universe. Take the “RACE Test” today for a better way at www. PRH

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Searching for Santa Vincent C. Gangemi Jr., Supervisor Anyelka "Annie" Peña, Office Manager Vincent C. Gangemi, Founder (1915-2005) James L. Guercio, Funeral Director (1954-2016)

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And other traditions worth sharing by Lou Pinto

of the steps and cut the ribbon, “presenting Christmas morning!” before heading downstairs to see what Santa brought. I’m 67 years old and still find myself scanning the skies on Christmas Eve. The most important tradition I hold close to my heart is the tradition of selflessness. The practice of helping and giving to others without looking for anything in return is a lesson I learned from my parents and a “tradition” that comes naturally to me. The rewards of this tradition have far outweighed anything monetary or tangible. Friends who become family, and loyalty from so many who care are traditions that I hope and pray most people experience in their lifetime. Whatever traditions you have, if they come from the heart, they are truly worth sharing. PRH



ur editor asked me to write about family traditions I have preserved for generations and which ones are most important to me. I thought for a moment and reflected on the traditions I’ve already kept going since I was a kid. I created some of them. My family and friends created others. I still keep some of these traditions going, while others just faded with change. Many of us share the same traditions and probably take a lot of them for granted, like eating certain foods at certain times of the year, reading seasonal stories, and visiting family members. One tradition I started that my kids and granddaughters continue to copy is hanging a ribbon across the top of the stairs on Christmas Day. It blocks the way so the kids can’t run down the stairs without their parents, too! We would have a little ceremony at the top

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| ROWHOME MAGAZINE | January /February /March 2024

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January /February /March 2024


Looped D E SS


The Best PRESSED of Jackson

y Dorette Rota


I’m too old for this. I know. I sound like a broken record. But I can’t keep this pace! I’m not as young as I used to be. Haste makes waste.’



walk around all day long talking to myself. I would like to talk to my sister but she’s always on the phone. When I’m with her, she’s on the phone. When I’m not with her, she calls me. Constantly. Says she wants to keep me in the loop. Which wouldn’t be so bad if she wasn’t doing 30 other things at the same time she was looping me. Multitasking, she calls it. Kept me on the phone while she picked up her cutlets from Lombardi’s, stopped at the post office, bought a can of College Inn at the corner store and cleaned the bird cage. Things really started getting weird when I heard her say, ‘I am so sorry for your loss.’ Really? I shout into the phone. You held me on the phone while you went to a viewing? When she’s in the car, affectionately dubbed “the mobile office, “she dials me on the hands-free speaker for our business ‘loop’ chats. Only thing is, she doesn’t tell me when she gets out of the car. If I didn’t hear the door slam, I’d fool myself into believing that she was actually listening to me when it came my turn to talk. Most times, my mother brings it to my attention. Since she drives around side-saddle all day working with her, she’s usually in the “Mobile Office” when Dawn

| ROWHOME MAGAZINE | January /February /March 2024

To all of you who love to read the LAST page FIRST, PRH takes a walk down memory lane with our readers’ top picks of their favorite PRESSED columns in honor of our 20th anniversary this year! exits. ‘She got out of the car. She’s not hearing a word you’re saying right now,’ my mother informs me before she picks up where my sister left off. ‘I don’t know what’s wrong with her. I tell her to slow down. My head spins!’ It’s my mother’s turn to keep me in the loop. ‘I’m too old for this. I know. I sound like a broken record. But I can’t keep this pace! I’m not as young as I used to be. Haste makes waste.’ Which got me thinking. I’m sure there are plenty of you rushing through your day saying things that your parents have said to you a thousand times over. The things you’ve repeated more than a million times by now. The more I thought about it, the longer the list grew. Then other people started adding to it. I guess you can say we’re all in the same loop! So, here it is. Some of the most frequently repeated phrases in households all around. Lock the door Be careful Take your time Nobody’s perfect God forbid Wait till you hear this one As long as you have your health Grow up Call me Slow down

I just gave you money for gas What do you want for dinner? Put your dish in the sink What is that smell? Do I look stupid to you? Do I look fat in this? Call your mother Spring ahead. Fall back! Can I make a right on red? This team sucks Is the water boiling? Take out the trash Where did I park? Order pizza Who wants Chinese? Bring in the recycling bucket What are you wearing? What do you want for dinner? Ask your father Call me when you get there Your mother said ‘No!’ Over my dead body I never said that Always wear clean underwear We didn’t have remote controls when I was young Money doesn’t grow on trees I’m sick and tired If you listened to me in the first place Gargle with salt and water What do you want for Christmas? And on that note, Happy New Year to all! Don’t take any wooden nickels. And remember, it’s always better to give than to receive.

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