Tankie’s Tavern: an homage
Tankie’s Tavern is an homage to a local youth — and good, family-style food.
As the June 21 opening neared for Tankie’s Tavern, 1718-20 W. Moyamensing Ave., Sal DiNubile knew each day would challenge his culinary chops. More than a month later, DiNubile is pleased that the Marconi establishment is now a neighborhood dining destination. “It’s our practical vision that has made us a hit. We wanted a place where people could come and feel positivity in the atmosphere.”
DiNubile, a resident of Sienna Place, was already familiar with the restaurant business as owner of Cookie’s Tavern, 2654 S. Alder Street. But this business is different. The 75-seat restaurant pays homage to DiNubile’s fallen son Salvatore, nicknamed “Tankie.” Salvatore died October 24, 2017 after a tragic shooting in the 1200 block of Ritner Street, where his family was living at the time.
The restaurant is a family affair. DiNubile’s daughter Ciarra Bianculli, a server and media relations manager, explained, “we want to create a welcoming vibe and treat our customers like family.” She continued, “we pride ourselves on offering dishes that remind you of Italian Sunday dinners.”
Pasta dishes among the most popular menu offerings. There’s also steak, short ribs, pork chops and salmon. Highlights include:
crab gravy and linguini
oversized ricotta gnocchi
Mulberry Street pizza with ricotta and eggplant
thick cut bacon with dipping sauce
Decor-wise, the interior sports exposed brick and wood tables. Garage-style doors let in light and provide a view of the leafy green median of Moyamensing Avenue. A wall mural of angel wings advises patrons to “Love Fiercely.”
While Salvatore’s friends are among the diners, DiNubile has welcomed many people he’d never met before last month’s opening. He credits good food, hard work, and partners Chris Imperato and Mark Galasso, with the venue’s success. “I’ve been around long enough to know that you have to work hard every day to survive,” he said. “That’s taken on a different meaning since the tragedy, so we’re trying to do just that by giving this neighborhood a restaurant and bar they can be proud of.”
Asked how her sibling would have reacted to the family’s labor of love, Bianculli was quick to answer, “He would have absolutely loved it. It’s a place where he could have been himself and grown his friendships and made new ones.”