Continuing our truly Tacony series we spoke with John owner of JP Coins to discuss what its like to do business in a niche market in one of Philadelphias oldest neighborhoods.
What service or product does your business provide?
We offer a wide range of coins, currency, and collectibles. We have coins and currency from around the world while our collectibles include posters, cards, jerseys, figurines, and stickers.
How long have you been in Tacony?
Weve been in Tacony for nearly 20 years
What brought you to Tacony?
It was the atmosphere and feel of the neighborhood
What is the hardest part about running a business?
The hardest part about running a business is the time and patience it takes, along with the standard challenge of getting started
What do you see as the future of your business?
Weve been here for a longtime and we think retirement is in our future
What do you see or hope is the future of Tacony?
That people continue to be engaged in the community and contribute to its revitalization
Why should other businesses move to Tacony?
Because of its strong community organizations that continue to provide support and assistance to businesses and residents.
From the Original NES system all the way to the Brand New Wii U Philadelphia Media exchange has you covered. Check their Torresdale Avenue location to find all your needs for Nintendo, Play Station, XBOX, and more! We could say more but the picture sums it up better than we ever could.
Make sure to a moment to complete the Tacony satisfaction survey. By doing so you help us create a stronger vision for Tacony and be more effective at our job. Click the following link https://docs.google.com/forms/d/1ELLOAaXCyqczh9b5_SlOJNLQnIyAl5mmLCXNGWybbgY/viewform
Building an Empire one hoagie at a time
Have you paid your respects to the King yet? Maybe you should get down there before he has you committed to London tower for treason (were kidding). Our next stop on the Hoagie Trail is Finks Hoagies and he didnt become the King by accident.
Finks Hoagies is headed up by owner and namesake Dennis Fink. Dennis has successful built his hoagie empire from his quite shop on right off the intersection of Princeton and Torresdale Avenue through spectacular sandwiches that are only matched by his infectious marketing ideas. From free Flyers tickets to donning a crown and cape his ability to connect with customers has allowed him to create the largest following out of any of the hoagie shops in Tacony.
The moment you walk into Finks you can see parts of his personality as well as Fink family history throughout the shop. Historic photographs of the family farm stand graze the wall and an old empty bottle of Finks beer rest beneath photos of a young Dennis Fink. One photo is of Dennis on the cover of Temple Universitys Alumni magazine while the other is a rather unassuming picture of Dennis in his marine uniform. But the most interesting and provocative piece is the rifle Dennis has mounted on the wall. It is a ummmm souvenir from his time in the Vietnam War serving as an infantryman in the U.S Marines. Take these personal tokens match them with a close knit staff great sandwiches and you get the secret to a hoagie empire.
But the hoagies are and will remain the true reason to go to Finks. Building on his familys history of serving quality food to people Finks hoagies always uses fresh meats vegetables cheeses, and serves every sandwich on a Liscios Italian roll. Finks differs from the other shops in Tacony and names the sandwiches after neighborhoods in Northeast Philadelphia. So you can take your pick from a Frankford Holmesburg Mayfair and of course a Tacony. The only exception is the original Italian style Hoagie that is Finks original and keeps its own name. Besides an exceptional hoagie menu they recently added hot menu with cheesesteaks roast pork grilled chicken and your usual selection of steak shop side dishes that will make you go home with enough to fill you till the next day.
Dont take our word for it though over the past three years Finks has won best hoagie shop in Philly from PHL Philadelphias hot list. This has lead Dennis to dub Finks the King of gourmet hoagies and lets the world know by declaring Philadelphia Finkadelphia on a billboard at Keystone and Levick Streets.
Our parting suggestion is for you to get there early because Finks only has a set number of rolls on any given day. If you make it there before the rolls sell out try a Torresdale or Tacony style hoagie and leave satisfied.
10 Days till the Hoagie Trails Birthday here are some interesting thoughts on the history of the Hoagie from our friends at visitphilly.com. Deals seen in picture below
Hoagie History Legend & Lore
Accounts of the hoagies origin vary greatly and scholars are still debating exactly where and when the sandwich was conceived.
According to a 1967 article in American Speech the word hoagie was first used in the late 19th or early 20th century among the Italian community in South Philadelphia. In those days On the hoke was a slang term for a poor person. Deli owners would give away meat and cheese scraps on a long roll called a hokie but Italian immigrants pronounced it hoagie.
The Philadelphia Almanac and Citizens Manual tells of late 19th-century street vendors named hokey-pokey men who sold antipasto salad meats and cookies. When Gilbert and Sullivans opera Pinafore opened in Philadelphia in 1879 bakeries produced a long loaf called the pinafore and the enterprising hokey-pokey men sliced it in half, filled it with antipasto and sold it as a hokey a name that evolved into hoagie.
Late Night Hoagie
In 1925 a Chester couple opened the A. DiCostanza grocery store which stayed open past midnight to accommodate gamblers from the nearby Palermos bar. One night a hungry card player walked to the back of the store when Catherine DiCostanza was cooking peppers and asked if she would make him a sandwich. She asked what kind of meat he wanted and he waved to the deli counter and said Put everything you have in the case in it. She took a loaf of Vienna bread and sliced it open and stuffed it. He asked her to put some of her peppers in too. He left and an hour later the place was full of hungry gamblers asking for the same kind of sandwich which would later be known as the hoagie.
Italian immigrants working on the Hog Island shipyard during World War I 1914-1918 would bring giant sandwiches filled with cold cuts, spices and vegetables for their lunches. The workers were nicknamed hoggies and over time the name with a different spelling came to be attached to the sandwiches.
In another version Italian workers at Hog Island brought these same type of sandwiches to lunch and an Irish worker looked enviously at his Italian friend and offered to buy one if his wife would make two. The Italian man went home and said Tomorrow make two sandwiches one for me and one for Hogan. Thereafter everyone started to call the sandwiches Hogans later shortened to hoagie.
King of the Hoggies
During the Depression 1929-1939, an unemployed Philadelphian named Al DePalma went to Hog Island to find work on the shipyard. When he saw workers on their lunch breaks eating giant sandwiches, his first thought was Those fellas look like a bunch of hogs. Instead of applying for a job, he decided to open up his own luncheonette and listed the sandwiches on his menu as hoggies. During the late 1930s DePalma joined forces with Buccellis Bakery and developed the perfect 8 inch roll. Later during World War II he turned the back room of the restaurant into a factory to supply sandwiches for the shipyard workers thus earning him the nickname as The King of the Hoggies. Because customers kept calling them hoagies he eventually changed the name.
The wide selection of Deli products, entrees, and exceptional hoagies makes Denofas a must as you explore the hoagie trail. Afterwards it may even end up in your grocery shopping routine.
With Taconys rich Italian heritage it should come as no surprise that we have a spectacular Italian Deli right in the heart of our community. Denofas Italian Deli has been serving Tacony since 1976 and has established itself as a destination business along Torresdale Avenue. From the world class hoagies to classic Italian cuisine our next stop on the hoagie trail has something for everyone.
Walking into Denofas is like taking a trip back in time (not to far back though). Despite the modern exterior and interior the pleasantness of the staff reminds you of old times, operating more like family than a business. Staff members typically chat up customers in the deli line and have no problem bringing their child in to say hi to their co-workers. The family atmosphere Denofas provides reminds you of a time when small businesses were community spaces and doing something as simple as buying groceries took half your day cause you kept running into your friends and neighbors. This starts with the shops owner Angie Denofa who can regularly be seen working behind the counter or helping customers with an order.
Denofas is most famous for their variety of Italian style sausages. Angies husband Ernie apprenticed as a butcher and used his skill to create the most authentic Italian style sausages in the city. Denofas offers your standard hot and sweet style sausages but has expanded to include broccoli rabe, sharp provolone sausages and many more. On any given day the shop in offers several varieties but if you call ahead theyll make any style you want and can even create your own custom flavor.
But lets get to why youre here, the hoagies. Because Denofas is an Italian Deli the sandwiches arent center stage. The majority of the shop is dedicated to the deli counter and dry goods. But the hoagie counter is easily seen at the back corner as you walk in. The fine Italian deli meats, cheeses, entrees, and side dishes set the stage for great hoagies. Because of the offerings from the deli counter Denofas has the largest variety of hoagies on the hoagie trail which includes chicken, vegetable, barbecue, sausage, fried deli meats, and steak sandwiches, making a hoagie menu that can please everyone. Playing off their rich history Denofas also names there sandwiches after people they know like the Angie, Ernie, and Iatrola deepening their ties to Tacony and driving home the family run qualities of the Deli. For those exploring the trail we suggest their trademark sausage and peppers hoagie or the Patterson, each shows the qualities of Denofas ingredients and will make for a unique stop on along the trail.
Jacks Place: Veteran Hoagie Maker Still Shines
Jacks Place is one of the oldest food establishments in Tacony, despite this Jacks has a bit of an underdog mentality because they arent immediately located along the Torresdale Avenue commercial corridor.
The one thing you know if youve been following us on Facebook or ShopTacony.com is that we love the hoagies we have in Tacony. We love them so much that we made an entire trail dedicated to them and are inviting the entire world to help us celebrate the trails birthday. To bring some order to this celebration ShopTacony is here to serve as your guide to the Hoagie Trail and make sure you get the best hoagies in the city on April 26th. Our first stop on the trail is the longest operating Hoagie shop in Tacony and is the hardest to find. Lets saunter off Torresdale Avenue and head to Jacks Place.
Even though its off the beaten path of Torresdale Avenue Jacks Place is well worth the two minute walk from the intersection of Wellington and Torresdale to the intersection of Wellington and Hegerman streets. Before you enter the small corner shop the smell from the fresh anti-pasta bar draws you in from down the street, something you wouldn't expect from this quite section of Tacony. Upon entering the shop youre greeted with a modest interior and a welcoming staff. Its typically a standing room only place as customers are moving in and out of the shop throughout the day. Every time weve been to Jacks its been busy with the small staff serving 3 to 4 customers at a clip. The menu has your classic hoagie shop standards like the Italian and American but supplements it with some sandwiches that prove Jacks is one of the best such as the Downtowner or the Turkey Special. The anti-pasta bar provides a nice spread of olives, peppers and pickles and Jacks has a wide assortment of side dishes, soups, and drinks to round out your order.
It shows you that owner Jack Joseph really knows what he is doing. Because of his attention to detail and sticking with the classics Jack has created what he calls the place for the Best Hoagie in the Free World. But this wasnt the plan at the beginning, originally he planned to run a fruit stand at this humble location and offer sandwiches as a side service. His customers soon started coming back for the sandwiches and left the fruit at the shop. Jack quickly realized that his days as a fruit purveyor were numbered but a career as a Hoagie Shop legend was just getting started. Because of his realization Taconys first claim as a hoagie haven was laid.
Today Jacks serves as the grand-daddy of the hoagie scene in Tacony and enjoys a large underground following amongst foodies, locals, and sandwich aficionados. He consistently receives rave reviews from food bloggers and yelp. Despite his sandwiches reputation Jack Joseph keeps a low profile. Jack works in the mornings and allows his staff to run the in the afternoon. But hes never too far away because he lives in the apartment right above the shop. We couldnt be happier to have this Tacony original apart of our hoagie trail.
Last year the Tacony CDC created the Hoagie Trial to celebrate the world class hoagies found in our community. This year the CDC is inviting you to help celebrate its first birthday and the only thing you need to bring is an empty stomach.
On Saturday April 26th our wonderful Hoagie Shops are offering a variety of discounts on their sandwiches. From delectable Italian hoagies to the classic Philly cheesesteak and every other hoagie you can think of the Tacony Hoagie Trail is serving up the best sandwiches in the city at deals you cannot pass up. Simply hop the train to the Tacony train station or grab your friend and their car and head to the Cottman exit of I-95 to enjoy a Saturday of stuffing your face with sandwiches you will write home about.
Denofas Italian Deli- 10% off any sandwich in store
6946 Torresdale Avenue
Finks Hoagie Shop- Buy 1 get 1 free in store after leaving your email
4633 Princeton Avenue
Jacks Place- Buy 1 get 1 in store after signing up for their newsletter
7176 Hegerman Street
Paganos Steaks and Shakes- 10% off next purchase
6300 Torresdale Avenue
Directions: The link below starts the trail at the Tacony train station which is an easily accessible regional rail station found on SEPTAs Trenton Line. Parking is readily available on Torresdale Avenue for those choosing to drive. https://mapsengine.google.com/map/edit?mid=zhjjli_rr4GQ.kAhU8P0PgLN4
The Hoagie Trail is a project of the Tacony CDC and Tacony area businesses.
Early in the fall of 2013 Tacony welcomed Caribbean Seafood Incorporated to Torresdale Avenue. We spoke with the shops owners and found out Taconys nice family atmosphere drew them to the area. When the opportunity arose in spring of last year to open a branch of their business in Tacony they decided to jump at it.
At Caribbean Seafood they specialize in wholesale, special order, and retail seafood products. But opposed to other seafood places that rely on walk-in traffic Caribbean Seafood relies on wholesale distribution as the primary source of income for their business. This allows them to maintain their business when times are slow by using their property as a distribution center and warehouse. In addition to distribution the shop in Tacony offers customers the opportunity to purchase fresh seafood in a retail setting. The menu changes daily but routinely offers fresh seafood salads, seafood soups, shrimp, conch, octopus, and fillets of fish. After every purchase Caribbean Seafood offers free steaming service for any seafood purchased in shop. As time progresses they are looking into expanding their in store food menu to include seafood platters.
They are excited about the future of Tacony. They imagine a neighborhood where people can live and work and enjoy the everyday comforts Tacony has for its residents. They hope that going forward businesses and residents will utilize ShopTacony and the programs the CDC offers to improve our neighborhood.
Check out the new photos that have been added to Bulls Eye Darts business profile. http://shoptacony.com/location.php?id=60
We asked Bulls Eye Darts their thoughts on doing Business in Tacony, and here is what they had to say.
How long have you been in business? We have been in business over 15 years, and are Philadelphia's largest retail outlet of Darts, Dart Supplies and Billiards. We are located at 6917 Torresdale Ave Phila., Pa, 19135 (215) 331 6200. Our goal is to provide excellent customer service while assisting you with your gaming needs.
What service or product does your business provide? We provide darts, dart accessories, billiard cues, billiard supplies and indoor games to our customers. We are also unique in that we allow customers to try out their darts before they purchase them to ensure that they will be happy with their purchase.
How long have you been in Tacony? We moved into the Tacony area in 2008. Prior to that, our business was located on Frankford Avenue near Margaret, for 13 years
What brought you to Tacony? We could see potential in the Tacony community. The location was close to I-95 so easier access for our customers. It appears to be a good central location allowing us to service the needs of NJ residents, Center City and Northeast Philadelphian's and Lower Bucks as well. As well as being centrally located it is within walking distance to the post office which assists us in quicker delivery time for our internet customers.
What is the hardest part about running a business? It is difficult to find a balance between running a business and maintaining family life. Running your own business often requires longer hours and working weekends. Even when the store is closed we often are working from home ordering supplies and helping online customers.
What do you see as the future of your business? We hope to see our business continue to grow. We also hope to be one of the specialty stores in our Tacony area drawing customers into the area which would help sales for our fellow businesses and the neighborhood to grow as well.
What do you see or hope is the future of Tacony? We would like to see more development on the riverfront. Perhaps some housing development. It would be a great location for commercial as well as residential development.
What is a typical day like for you? After opening the doors, we are immediately ready to assist walk n customers. In between we pack up our internet sales. We pride ourselves on providing excellent customer service to our in-store customers as well as our internet customers.
Why should other businesses move to Tacony? Easy access from NJ, Center City, Northeast Philadelphia and Lower Bucks and easy access to I-95. We believe it is an up and coming community with all the hard work and revitalization being done in our area we are proud to be a part of this soon to be thriving community.
When you look at Paganos Steaks and Shakes at the corner of Robbins and Torresdale avenue you know youre looking at the business that is ran right. The sparkling clean floors the eye catching orange tile and the quality ingredients give you sense that its here to last. But this doesnt come as a surprise to owner Alex as he sees it this comes as part of package when you own steak shop. Alex has over 40 years experience in the steak shop business and has run over a dozen steak shops throughout his life all of which are successful or he has sold for a profit. He has chosen to place his newest shop in Tacony.
The key to his success is combination of quality ingredients and consistent service. Come to my restaurant tomorrow order a cheesesteak and come in ten years later and youll have a cheese steak that taste exactly the same. He has the confidence in his product that can come only with his experience. Every cheese steak is made with thinly slice quality rib eye burgers are made with 12 once 100% Angus beef and every hoagie is made with 100% olive oil. For him it isnt a matter of focusing on one aspect of your meal instead its quality from start to finish that makes his customers come back for more. And his credentials show it of the multiple locations he has run throughout his life almost every one of them has their cheesesteak named as one of the best in the city.
So why did he choose Tacony for his latest venture? He says it was a combination of the busy intersection he sits at and the fact that the area is widely known for its steaks and hoagies. The location is perfect for a cheesesteak shop right where the Tacony-Palmyra Bridge meets Torresdale Avenue on Robbins Street. The property he has remodeled was an old fruit and vegetable store that was vacant for many years. He kept many of the properties features including an outdoor patio that will be perfect for customers on hot summer days. The top floors were remodel to have their exterior blend in with in the shop, and give the impression the entire property is well maintained. He also believes that in this area with multiple well known, delis and steak shops he has a chance to really stand out against quality competition. And something tells us he will we suggest you go down there for yourself and try a classic cheesesteak with fried onions and provolone cheese. All the ingredients are excellent but the provolone really makes the sandwich shine.
Bull's Eye Darts - You will hit a 180!
Yep! We have three great hoagie shops with unique flavorful Tacony-bred hoagies. Are hoagies not your thing? In Tacony, there's also pizza, Chinese food, Irish, fine Italian dining and more! Check out the Eat In Special for an opportunity to save a few bucks.