South Philadelphia destination Sarcone's Deli, which enjoyed a 20-year run and numerous best-of mentions for its hoagies, has closed.
The city shut down the deli last month over back taxes. In a Facebook message on Aug. 4, owner Anthony Bucci cited a heart condition in his decision not to reopen. "Im sorry and i love you all. this is hard for me to walk away but my health is all i have," he wrote. He did not return a text message left on his cellphone.
Sarcone's opened in 1997 just off the corner of Ninth and Fitzwater Streets, a few doors from Sarcone's Bakery.
Bucci and Louis Sarcone, the fourth-generation baker, are first cousins.
Sarcone lent the family name to the hoagie shop and was an early investor but years later, he relinquished his role and had nothing to do with it other than selling it his seeded rolls. (As such, the bakery is unaffected.)
Everyone seemed to have a favorite.
Inquirer food critic Craig LaBan was a fan of the Sinatra, built with fresh mozzarella, provolone, roasted garlic, and balsamic vinegar. The traditional Italian hoagie, with its cubes of provolone, finished second in sports-talk host Glen Macnow's Great Hoagie Hunt of 2009. Food Network host Adam Gertler cited the Junkyard Special, which included mozzarella, provolone, spinach, roasted peppers, and basil. I was partial to the Uncle Louie, with deli turkey, sauteed spinach, and sharp provolone.
The deli will have a new occupant, perhaps as soon as late fall: Angelo's Pizza of Haddonfield. Owner Danny Digiampietro's wife, Lauren, is a Sarcone. Digiampietro, excited about seeing their two young kids growing up in a business in the old neighborhood, said this location would be primarily for takeout. The Haddonfield location will remain, as the lease runs through May 2018, Digiampietro said.
It's been a tough week for Ninth Street sandwich shops, what with the passing of Mark Onorato, who ran George's Sandwich Shop at Ninth and Christian.
(Post has been edited to reflect the city shutdown before its actual closing.)