'I love making sandwiches': John's Roast Pork reopens in South Philadelphia after 6 weeks

Alicia Vitarelli Image
Wednesday, May 6, 2020
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The COVID-19 crisis has been devastating to our restaurant industry. But on Tuesday, a sign of rebirth in South Philadelphia for beloved John's Roast Pork.

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- The COVID-19 crisis has been devastating to our restaurant industry. But on Tuesday, a sign of rebirth in South Philadelphia for a beloved sandwich institution.

After being closed for six weeks, John's Roast Pork opened its doors again.

Alicia Vitarelli had a chance to chat with owner John Bucci about this emotional chance to save his family's history and his recipe for recovery.

"I love making sandwiches and I love making people happy," says Bucci.

For Bucci, it's been a long six weeks.

"I put the key in the door and I realized, I might never do this again," Bucci says. "I broke down."

Bucci is the third generation running the family business.

There are 90 years of history there.

"My grandfather opened in 1930, Domenico Bucci, and it was a wooden shack right where these tables are right here," Bucci says.

Bucci is a leukemia survivor and initially closed, worried about his own health.

To save this legacy, a Philadelphia institution, he reopened those doors.

"I've been a wreck, but I'm ready to make sandwiches," he says. "You can see my emotions."

But he had to change the way things are done: plexiglass partitions, no more walk-ups, phone-in orders only, and they call you on the intercom when your order is ready.

"It might take a little longer but we're a small business," he says. "We're not designed to be closed for six weeks. We would have had no business to come back to."

"I slept three hours last night," he says of reopening. "I'm so excited."

And so were the customers!

"To see them and yelling out the window was just was so nice," he says. "It made me feel better and I think it's going to make everyone feel better. The whole city."


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