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Property of the Week: 1908 Carpenter

There are thousands of homes for sale in South Philly. Our “Property of the Week” features one worth checking out…

1908 Carpenter Street is an intricately designed and expertly constructed single-family home unlike any other property on the market. The spacious layout, extensive outdoor accommodations, and artistic implementation of high-quality materials make for a stunning, yet subtle ambiance that will leave its fortunate owner with a single thought in mind: “I have arrived.”

Situated in the heart of Philadelphia’s coveted Graduate Hospital neighborhood, the location of this newly constructed haven is just one of many features that add to its appeal. Conveniently positioned within walking distance of several of Philadelphia’s prime attractions – including Rittenhouse Square, the Philadelphia Art Museum, and the Schuylkill River Trail, as well as Center City’s Business District and several state-of-the-art hospitals and universities – the location of 1908 Carpenter Street is absolutely ideal to meet a wide variety of interests and lifestyles.

Constructed from marble and classic red brick, this lovely home is both aesthetically pleasing and stable and durable for generations to come. The custom-ordered windows provide a natural source of sunlight into the entire home, helping the home’s 1,809 square feet feel twice its size!

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A Tradition to Pie For

Sweet or savory, Easter Pies are an Italian tradition that’s still alive and well in South Philly

By Giavana Suraci

As Palm Sunday service ended at St. Nicholas of Tolentine Church, hoards of hungry parishioners raced back to their row homes for Sunday gravy and well-deserved glasses of red wine. But lifelong South Philly resident Annie Versace had other plans. With Holy Week beginning, Easter Pies were the only thing on her mind.

A time-honored tradition

Sweet and savory pies made with different combinations of ricotta, rice, spinach, ham, and other ingredients have been a part of the neighborhood’s springtime baking ritual for decades. They’re made on Good Friday in preparation for breaking Lent on Easter Sunday. The tradition hails from Italy where every region has a different name, and different recipe, for the pies.

Annie has followed her mother’s handwritten recipes to a T for the past 55 years.

“When I got married, I asked my mom to teach me how to make the pies. [My husband] loved them. My sister and brothers loved them. And after a while, I just made them for everyone,” she said. “Even today, I make them for the family, the nuns, whoever.”

We joined Annie to see how its done. Dozens of ingredients filled her kitchen table as she meticulously whisked a pasta bowl full of pie filling. Today, she said, is rice and ricotta. Ribbons of cheese and egg were blended effortlessly, while homemade crust was prepared with precision. No store-bought crust is allowed in these pies. “It makes all the difference,” she said. “My mother used to make Easter doll cookies with the leftover dough. My grandkids kept that tradition up, too.”

A pie of many names

Lower Moyamensing-resident Luann Caruso has her another tradition. Her family makes a savory pie called Colombo. According to family folklore, “Colombo” brings peace on Easter Sunday. 

This Easter staple is also known as Pizza Rustico, Pizzagaina, Torta Pasqualina and other names. It’s a deep-dish cousin to quiche that’s packed with two (or more!) types of meat, mixed together with several Italian cheeses, and bound by eggs. The whole pie is enclosed with a pastry top, often festively decorated.

Pizzagaina. Photo courtesy Joseph F. Marino.

“The meats include Italian sausage, which is dried for over a period of six to seven weeks, and cooked ham,” Luann explained. Her cheese choices are “Basket cheese, salted Mozzarella, grated Locatelli Romano. The pie also includes hard boiled eggs that were quartered,” she said. “[Once baked], a piece of palm is placed on the top to bless the final creation.”

The name Colombo, she said, comes from the Italian word for dove. She was told that when the pie was eaten with family and friends, everyone would have peace. “[That] makes sense since a dove symbolizes peace.”

Like Annie’s ricotta pies, Luann’s Colombo is only made for the Easter holiday. Her family also makes a smaller version of the meat pie, shaped into a half moon and just about 12 inches in length. Dried sausage, ham, ricotta, salted mozzarella, and grated cheese are the only ingredients inside the mound they call “Pasticcio.”

These women, though strangers, are connected by a bond of familial traditions. Over the years, Luann has taken bits and pieces of recipes passed down to her for generations. Part of her routine these days includes her mother’s rolling pin, her grandmother’s 3 foot by 3 foot wooden board and her husband’s grandmother’s special bowl for the dough.

“It is our way of keeping their memory alive each Easter,” she said.

Annie Versace’s completed ricotta pies.

Annie reminisced on Easters past as she cut a bowl full of candied cherries. “My mother’s brother was a carpenter. He made her a big cutting board and a rolling pin that we used for years. They got lost over time, and her special frying pan, too. She’d use that to saute the spinach.”

She boasted about her spinach pie recipe, claiming hers is the only one that mimics her grandmother’s. “We’ll make them on Good Friday,” she said.

Not everyone has the nerve, or patience, like Luann and Annie. These behemoth bites take time, and a lot of love, to get right. Luckily, South Philly bakeries have it covered. Termini’s, Isgro’s and even the Shoprite of Whitman Plaza offers these treats every Easter season.

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Spring into Festival Season in South Philly

Sponsored by:

By Catherine Murray

Windows and patios are open, spring buds are blooming brilliantly, and there’s a buzz in the air all around town. Spring is finally upon us and brings with it outdoor fun for all ages. Mark your calendars for the following spring festivals, kicking off with East Passyunk’s Flavors of the Ave.

Flavors on the Avenue
Sunday, April 28
East Passyunk Avenue from Broad Street to Dickinson

Courtesy C. Smyth/Visit Philadelphia

Philadelphia’s tastiest food festival is back! Flavors on the Avenue returns with five blocks of street food, seasonal sips, craft beer, live music, sidewalk sales and free family fun – from Broad to Dickinson streets. Over two dozen award-winning restaurants and bars will bring their signature cuisine outside. Craft beer, wine and seasonal sips will be pouring to quench your thirst. Free to attend and open to all ages. Save the date, invite your friends!

Look for live music and entertainment throughout the festival, plus bring the kids for free family fun activities in kids zones up and down the street.  nice things…handmade presents nearly 80 of the region’s top makers and crafters with home décor, paintings, candles, jewelry, pottery, furniture, soaps, artisan foods, handmade pet treats, fashion – and everything in between.

East Passyunk’s spring festival showcases not only the best food the city has to offer – but shows off the hidden retail, family and fashion gems along the strip. While you sip and savor, look for shopping, sidewalk sales, special events, workshops and much more. Make sure to stop in and meet some of the Ave.’s boutique owners.

Check out the list of participating restaurants and other activities.

South Street Festival
Saturday, May 4
South Street between 2nd and 8th Streets, and the 2nd Street/Headhouse Plaza

Courtesy Brauhaus Schmitz

South Street will be filled with music, food, drinks, crafts, and vendors between 2nd Street and 8th Street, including the Brauhaus Schmitz Maifest celebration. 30+ restaurants and bars will serve food and drink outdoors. Music and entertainment will be featured on three stages throughout the festival. Children of all ages will enjoy free family fun in the Family Fun Zone. 100+ artists and retailers will cater to your shopping needs.

Brauhaus Schmitz’s 7th Annual German Maifest brings the sweet taste of Germany to the 700 block of the South Street. This festival-within-a-festival features authentic German food, liters of beer, flower crown making, schnaps-ski tent, traditional German-Hungarian dancers, and live music from the Heimatklänge band. Maifest is free and open to the public, but a limited number of VIP tickets are also available. More details here.

Other festivities include celebrations of National Comic Book Day, Kentucky Derby watch parties, and Cinco de Mayo drink specials. Stay tuned for more details in our upcoming events highlights.

South Street Spring Festival is free and open to the public. Food and drink are pay-as-you-go. 21 and up with identification to drink. Rain or shine.

Italian Market Festival
Saturday, May 18 – Sunday, May 19
South 9th Street between Wharton and Fitzwater Streets

Photo by L. Bercky, courtesy of Visit Philadelphia

The nation’s oldest outdoor continuous market hosts this annual family event, which is Philadelphia’s largest block party. The annual festival features live entertainment, artists, crafters, games –including a greased pole-climbing contest – and, of course, food!

Add this to the Italian Market’s dazzling array of homemade sausages, delicious cannoli, imported meats and cheeses, luscious cappuccino, butcher-cut beef and poultry, specialty cookware and fresh pastas – and its a recipe for success!

Odunde Festival
Sunday, June 9th
Heart of the festival is located at 23rd and South Street

Photo by A. Ricketts, Courtesy of Visit Philadelphia 

The Odunde Festival, held each June on Philadelphia’s South Street, is the largest African-American street festival in the nation. The festival covers 14 city blocks and features 100 art, craft and food vendors, as well as two stages of live entertainment by African, Caribbean and African-American performers.

According to, “The food is a huge attraction at Odunde, with a variety of vendors rarely seen at other regional festivals serving all sorts of African, Caribbean and Soul food. Guests should be sure to check out the awesome cuisine, including a variety of fried fish and chicken dishes, corn on the cob and much more.

In addition to local vendors, the festival’s authentic African marketplace promises shoppers items from countries in Africa, the Caribbean and South America.

As the festival’s website explains, the celebration originates from the Yoruba people of Nigeria, West Africa, “It is an occasion highlighted by a colorful procession from  23rd and South Streets to the Schuylkill River where an offering of  fruit and flowers is made to Oshun, the Yoruba goddess of the river.”

Stay tuned for more information about all of these festivals – and other exciting South Philly events – in future posts!


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Food Co-op groundbreaking and other foodie news

Food Co-op Groundbreaking

The South Philly Food Co-op is on track to open their doors later this summer. To celebrate, they’re hosting a Groundbreaking Celebration at Bok and South Philly Smokhaus. Read more and purchase tickets – they’re going fast!


French “Beast” coming to Ninth & Morris

Michael Klein reports that chef Michael O’Halloran, of Bistro 7 fame, will open a new French bistro at 1703 S. Ninth St., one building north of Morris. O’Halloran told Klein that Bistro La Bête (“The Beast”) will be “approachable and unfussy. I’m not going for precious. This will be closer to ‘eating’ than ‘dining.’”

Meanwhile…three blocks away…

Easton, PA-based Separatist Beer Project opened their 70-seat tasting room at 1646 S. 12th St. (NW corner of 12th & Morris) on Thursday, April 11. Owner Joe Fay told Michael Klein that “a separatist is anybody that does not follow the status quo, and the status quo is something that is evolving rapidly in beer…We always want to be offering what people want and then exploring and pushing those boundaries as well, and separating ourselves from the others. Creating our own path.” The shop has 16 taps – 12 for their beer, plus 2 draft cocktails and 2 draft wines. They’ll also serve pies from Stargazy.

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What's Happening in:  Marconi 

David the Goliath

Melaragni in his Cowichan Valley Capitals uniform. Photo provided by David Melaragni.

Having scored MVP honors for his Canadian junior team, a Marconi East ice hockey star will soon enter the college ranks.

By Joseph Myers

This Post sponsored by the Triangle Tavern

When preparing for a new challenge, some athletes might find themselves hesitant to hold great expectations for obtaining immediate success. Thanks to his recent commendation as the Most Valuable Player for the Cowichan Valley Capitals, and distinction as the third-leading scorer among British Columbia Hockey League defensemen, David Melaragni is not in that league.

“I want to dominate,” the 21-year-old product of Marconi East said of his next stop, Canisius College, to whom he committed in the winter. “I want to dedicate myself to becoming better every day and further my goal to play professional hockey.” Continue Reading →

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What's Happening in:  East Passyunk Crossing 

Will BYOB on East Passyunk to close

Chef Christopher Kearse will open a new restaurant in the former Capofitto space in Old City.

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