Arrivederci – Farewell Post

This blog was created as a project for my Online Journalism class at Rowan University.

As the semester comes a close, I would like to reflect upon what I’ve learned through reporting and creating content on this blog.

Regarding journalism, I believe that I learned a lot about interviewing. This entire project was a learning experience. I have no prior blogging experience, or learned skills in photography, audio, and video content. It was sometimes frustrating to learn even the basics of these processes, but ultimately it helped enhance the storytelling of the blog and make it a more varied experience.

Most importantly, I learned about the people of 9th Street. It was truly invigorating to hear people’s stories about their experiences in the Italian Market. I spoke with people who had a deep-rooted family history, and people who are relatively new to the Market, but their passion for their neighborhood is undeniable in every case.

I do plan to continue this blog and continue to learn about the people, history, and future of 9th Street. Thank you to those who have read my posts and provided feedback, and especially to those people of the market who gave me their time and their stories.

Here are 5 of my favorite posts from the blog:


Everything You Need to Know About This Year’s South 9th Street Italian Market Festival – May 16 & 17, 2015

Curbside vendor selling fresh produce on 9th Street across from Villa di Roma. (Photo/Catherine DeMuro)

Curbside vendor selling fresh produce on 9th Street across from Villa di Roma. (Photo/Catherine DeMuro)

The scents of summer wafting through the air, the taste of a fresh pina colada on your lips, the promise of a hearty cheeseburger if you can just wait in this line for five more minutes… There is nothing like a summer festival!

This year, the South 9th Street Italian Market Festival will take place on Saturday May 16 and Sunday May 17 from 11 am – 6 pm. In addition to the everyday retail offerings on 9th Street, including, of course, its world-class cheese shops, butcher stores, and Philly sandwiches, many merchants will be selling all kinds of foods and beverages curb-side for guests’ enjoyment.

In addition to the food – although, let’s face it, that’s one of the BEST parts – expect to find live music, craft vendors, and even games around every corner!

While you’re on 9th Street, don’t forget to say “Happy Birthday.” 2015 marks a particularly special year for the Festival and the Italian Market, as it is the district is celebrating its “Cent’anni” – its 100 year anniversary!

What better way to celebrate 100 years of incredible food, multicultural heritage, and amazing, dedicated people than the Italian Market Festival?

As someone who is intent on exploration, indecisive about snacks, and has waited in plenty of lines – I think I can share a tip or two. Here is everything you need to know about this year’s festival.


9th Street has deep roots in history. The South Philly gem is the nation’s oldest operating curb market, having originated through Italian immigrants who worked and boarded in the area. (Read more about this and some other miscellaneous cheesesteak trivia here!)

Though the market has grown to be a melting pot of various cultures besides Italian, including Korean and Mexican, it still honors its Italian roots. The second day of the Italian Market Festival begins with the Procession of Saints to St. Paul Parish, which is a Roman-Catholic tradition where people process through the local neighborhood with statues of saints. You are likely to see children in their first communion attire, and ornate statues of the Blessed Mary.

The Procession of Saints takes place on the third Sunday in May, which will be May 17.

In the Italian Market, the procession begins at Saint Mary Magdalen Church (7th and Montrose), stops for the Blessing of the Market at 9th and Washington, and ends at Saint Paul Parish.


All of the Italian Market Festival action can be found on South 9th Street from Fitzwater street to Federal Street. This technically encompasses both the Bella Vista and East Passyunk neighborhoods.

All of the retail shops remain open throughout the festival, but the focus is on the typically on the lively outdoor happenings.

Over 70,000 visitors are expected to attend, so taking public transportation or parking at a distance and walking to the market is highly recommended.

9th Street is closed to vehicle traffic throughout the weekend. Make a note of where you park in case you have to walk a distance!


Oh, the food! There will be indulgences everywhere you turn, and you’re in great shape whether you like to sit down for a meal or try a little bit of everything! (Personally, I’m a fan of the latter.)

Take a word from the wise, 3-year Italian Market Festival veteran Christopher Menzinger: “This isn’t a place where you go after stuffing yourself with a diner breakfast. Come hungry and come with an open mind. There are really just a ton of amazing things to try, so you shouldn’t limit yourself to one area or one thing.”

My mouth is watering already!

Here are some highlights to check out. Click below for a map of these top spots on 9th Street!

  • Anastasi Seafood (1101 S. 9th St.) – soft shell crab sandwiches
  • Los Taquitos De Pueblas Taqueria (1149 S. 9th St.) – pork tacos
  • Esposito’s Meats (1001 S. 9th St.) – Italian sausage sandwiches
  • Isgro’s Pastries (1009 Christian St.) – sfogliatelli
  • Anthony’s Italian Coffee House (903 S. 9th St.) – chocolate covered bananas or chocolate covered strawberries
  • And of course the pina colada in a pineapple! Available at several vendors throughout the market, with or without alcohol. (Be prepared for approximately 75 people to ask, “where did you get that?” Just sip and point.)


The South 9th Street Italian Market Festival is one of the greatest events of the year in Philadelphia. Plan ahead, have an amazing time, and enjoy all that this incredible outdoor market has to offer!

Feel free to share your festival tips or past experiences with me in the comments.


From Cappuccino to Cutlery: Video Interview with Mariella Esposito, Owner of Fante’s Kitchen Wares Shop

Whether you need a world-class pasta strainer, top-of-the-line cutlery, or a steaming hot cappuccino, Fante’s Kitchen Wares Shop is the place to go.

Fante’s is the oldest cookware store in the country and located in the heart of the Italian Market! Mariella Esposito, Fante’s co-owner, started working at the store in 1970 as a part-time employee while still in high school. She arrived in Philadelphia as an immigrant from Italy and worked alongside her brothers in the store for the Fante family. “The Italian Market has been a home for me for the past 40 years,” said Esposito.

Fante’s opened on 9th Street in 1906, originally as a carpenter shop owned by father and son team Dominic and Luigi Fante. According to Esposito, when son Dominic took over the business, he did not know how to make furniture, so he sold pre-made furniture and turned the store into a gift shop. In the 1940’s, Fante’s started to bring some cookware into the retail store, and they have not turned back since!

It was not until 1981 when Esposito and her brothers took over the business and developed it into the full-fledged cookware store it is today. They are most well-known for their traditional Italian cookware, such as pizzelle irons and gnocchi boards, but carry a vast array of products for every cooking and baking need.

A look down one of the ‘gadgets’ aisles at Fante’s. Click to enlarge photo. (Photo/Catherine DeMuro)

Did I mention that Fante’s also has a fantastic coffee shop with a coffee of the day special? (It’s worth the visit for the beautiful aroma alone.)

Today Mariella took me on a tour of every nook and cranny of the wondrous kitchen shop. Watch the video below to hear her thoughts on the evolution of the Italian Market and get a sneak peek inside the store – including its most “FABULOUS” items!

Note: Video has been edited for length and clarity. Please check back for an updated post with an extended version of the interview.

Video recorded with my iPhone 6 and edited with iMovie. This was my very first experience with interview recording and video editing, so I certainly hope to improve from here!

97 Years of Fresh Baked Bread: Audio Interview with Lou Sarcone Jr. of Sarcone’s Bakery

At Sarcone’s Bakery, ‘it’s all about the bread,’ and it has been that way for five generations. That is 97 years’ worth of fresh baked bread daily! Louis Sarcone Jr. is the fourth generation Sarcone to run the renowned family business. Today he shared the background of his business and why he and his family feel compelled to uphold tradition on 9th Street, even when people recognize their name up and down the East Coast.

Lou Sarcone Jr. stands in front of family photos of his father and grandfather displayed in his 9th Street store. Sarcone was 18 years old in the photo on the right. (Photo/Catherine DeMuro)

Listen here:

Note: Interview has been edited for length and clarity. Full length interview will be available in an updated post.

Hollywood Star Bradley Cooper Spotted on 9th Street

bradley cooper

Photo via Flickr user benyupp.

Hollywood heartthrob and Philadelphia native Bradley Cooper enjoyed an authentic Italian dinner at Villa di Roma on 9th Street this week. You can take the man out of Philly, but you can’t take Philly out of the man!

Cooper, 40, plays the leading role in American Sniper, currently in theaters, and has starred in other popular films such as Silver Linings Playbook, American Hustle, and The Hangover seriesHe’s also known to be a huge Philadelphia Eagles fan!

Cooper’s mother, Gloria, and his cousin, Colin, were interviewed alongside Cooper in the 60 Minutes: Overtime video.

Watch this video from CBS News for the feature on Cooper’s visit and a look into his career.

The 8 Most Crave-Worthy Foods in the Italian Market for Under $10

The Italian Market is overflowing with amazing foods and drinks with a variety of cultural influences. Sometimes it can be overwhelming to decide the best places to eat and how to budget yourself throughout a day trip, so I have narrowed it down for you!

Here is a selection of the most crave-worthy indulgences found on 9th Street, from breakfast through dinnertime – and everything in between.

1.  COFFEE OF THE DAY – Fante’s Kitchen Wares Shop, 1006 S. 9th St.

Fante's coffee

Click to enlarge photo. Photo via Fante’s Facebook page:

Nestled in the righthand side of the sprawling kitchen store lies an aromatic shop chock-full of enticing coffee beans. The best way to try them all is to stop by for the Coffee of the Day, a rotating menu of the many flavored beans available at Fante’s. Get your morning caffeine fix and try out some incredible flavors for under $2 a cup.

2. THE HOLY DIVER BREAKFAST SANDWICH – Gleaner’s Cafe, 917 S. 9th St.

2015-02-10 17.48.49 - Copy

Click to enlarge photo. Photo by the author.

The Holy Diver is a breakfast delight, especially for those of us who would rather skip right to lunch! This hearty bagel sandwich is comprised of roasted peppers, onions, provolone cheese, and spicy mustard on a wheat bagel and costs about $5.

Bonus: Answer the question of the day, written on the wall behind the counter, for a discount.

3.  ITALIAN MARKET HOAGIE – Sarcone’s Deli, 734 S. 9th St. 

sarcone hoagie

Click to enlarge photo. Photo by the author.

Everyone has heard of Sarcone’s Bakery’s famous bread that sells out early every day and fuels many sandwich shops in the surrounding area. In Sarcone’s fashion, their hoagies are just as delectable! Try the Italian Market hoagie with hot capicola (“gabagool” to fans of The Sopranos), fresh turkey breast, roasted peppers, sharp provolone cheese, tomatoes, lettuce, oil, vinegar, and herbs for about $9.

4. WHITE PIZZA – Lorenzo’s, 900 Christian St. (corner of 9th & Christian Streets)


Click to enlarge photo. Photo via Yelp user Danielle J.

Pizza is a heavenly treat and a staple of the Philadelphia food scene. When you’re in the mood for something cheesy and garlicky (for me that is most of the time), the best slice of white pizza that you’ll be dreaming about for days after can be found at Lorenzo’s Pizza, where a slice is $2 and a large pie is $12.50.

5. PESTO AGNOLOTTI SALAD – Talluto’s, 944 S. 9th St.

pesto salad

Click to enlarge photo. Photo by the author.

A great lunchtime side dish or in-between snack is the cold pesto agnolotti pasta salad from Talluto’s. The agnolotti pasta is stuffed with pesto and accompanied by grape tomatoes and plenty of minced garlic! Sprinkle a little grated parmesan on top and enjoy a half pint for about $4.

6. STEAK SOPECITOS – Blue Corn, 940 S. 9th St.

blue corn

Click to enlarge photo. Photo by the author.

Blue Corn is the new kid on the block in the Italian Market, having only opened in 2014. They have earned a spot in my heart with their steak sopecitos: julienned steak served over queso fresco (fresh, mild Mexican cheese), sour cream, and refried beans on a small corn round. You won’t regret trying this fresh, flavorful dish with some of their homemade sauces on top. Three sopecitos come in an order and cost about $8.

Bonus: Read this review from City Paper for a glimpse into the ambiance and and experience of Blue Corn.

7. THE ARISTA – Paesano’s Philly Style, 1017 S. 9th St. 


Click to enlarge photo. Photo by the author.

You will not find a more flavorful sandwich in the universe, let alone in the city of Philadelphia. My most-craved sandwich of all time is the Arista, full of shredded, whole roasted suckling pig, sharp provolone, spicy Italian long hots, and bitter broccoli rabe on a seeded roll. Do yourself a favor and pick one up at Paesano’s for $9, but be warned – you’ll crave this sandwich for all your lunches to come!

8. RICOTTA CANNOLI – Isgro Pasticceria, 1009 Christian St.


Click to enlarge photo. Photo via Isgro’s website:

After visiting the Italian Market and sampling every possible cheese, olive oil, and sandwich you could muster, you will STILL have room for dessert – it’s science, people. The best way to satisfy your sweet tooth is with an incredible ricotta cannoli from Isgro’s, who have been in business for over 100 years. Yup, they know what they’re doing! Two of these award-winning cannolis cost about $8.

Bonus: check out this video for an inside look at Isgro’s history and how their cannolis are made. Video by 6 ABC News on Isgro’s website.

What are some of your favorite things to snack on in the Italian Market?
Let me know in the comments!

Benvenuti – Welcome

Benvenuti! – That’s Italian for “Welcome!”
Yo, how you doin’? – That’s South Philadelphian for “Welcome!”
(It’s also a rhetorical question. Don’t bother answering.)

The historic 9th Street Italian Market is where these two worlds, among others, collide. The Italian Market is a glorious fusion of different cultures, and for that reason, it is a place where you will never go hungry or unentertained. 9th Street is home to numerous shops, restaurants, eateries, street vendors, events, and a plethora of characters.

I am Catherine DeMuro, a journalism student at Rowan University, and over the next several months I will be exploring the Italian Market and sharing everything with YOU! On this blog, you will find an accessible guide to all the Italian Market has to offer, as well as its rich history. I will be interviewing store owners who have been in the market for over 50 years, displaying photo galleries of different attractions, documenting events such as the annual Italian Market Festival, and hopefully doing a significant amount of taste testing.

Overall, these posts will be geared towards young adults in the South Jersey and Philadelphia area. I hope to create a helpful and relevant reference for things to do in this unique, amazing city – whether you’re seeking a change of pace in your social calendar, or you’re simply in need of some delicious lunch.

I’m excited to share this exploration of 9th Street with you and hope that you will find it informative. Please feel free to share your own stories and experiences with me, and let me know what you would like to see more of!

‘Ciao’ for now!