July 07, 2022
The Termini family officially opened Nonna & Pop's earlier this month, an ice cream and pastry shop located at the former site of Mr. Joe's Cafe on 8th Street in South Philadelphia.
When Vince Termini Sr. closed Mr. Joe's Cafe — which he opened in 2006 as a tribute to his father, Giuseppe Termini — he did so as a way to officially step back from the family business. His sons, Vinny and Joseph, have decided to take the reins and revamp the space to honor Termini Sr. and their mother, Barbara, who met her husband while working in the bakery as a young woman.
The sit-down ice cream parlor serves Bassett's Ice Cream, La Colombe Coffee, and of course, a variety of classic Italian pastries and desserts. In addition to filled-to-order cannoli, Nonna & Pop's also sells pizzelles, pignoli, amaretti cookies, and sfogliatelle – otherwise known as "lobster tails."
The Termini's are also working on their own spumoni, a molded gelato native to Apulia that the Termini brothers used to serve at the location between 1921 and 1938, before moving the family bakery across the street to its current spot.
"This is special to us because my grandfather and his brother served spumoni in this very location 100 years ago," Termini Jr. told the Inquirer. "It was a true passion of theirs. What better way to celebrate them?"
Nonna & Pop's is open at 1514 S. 8th St. Tuesday through Sunday from 12 to 7 p.m. The location allows guests stopping over at the flagship bakery to have a chance to sit down and eat.
While Mr. Joe's specialized in Sicilian comfort food and other classic dishes, Nonna & Pop's will focus on handcrafted desserts and pastries, much of what the business itself has been known for over the last century.
Giuseppe and Gaetano Termini emigrated to the United States from Enna in Central Sicily, opening a bakery in South Philadelphia just years before the Great Depression.
Gaetano was the first to come over, Termini Sr. told PhillyVoice back in 2017. He spent three years working for Stetson Hats before his brother Joe made the journey along with another brother, Mario, who was denied access to the U.S. at Ellis Island and was sent back to Italy.
They both apprenticed at a bakeshop before moving to the United States, and dreamt of opening a bakery specializing in Italian desserts. Despite the Depression, the bakery was a success, and they moved across the street to their current location at 1523 S. 8th St. for more space.
The original bakery — which now houses Nonna & Pop's — was sold to a barber who gave haircuts in the space until 2004, when the building was offered back to the Termini family. It housed Mr. Joe's Cafe for more than a decade before Termini Sr. decided to back away from the family business at 83 years old.
In addition to the flagship bakery on 8th Street in South Philadelphia, Termini's has locations at Reading Terminal, Packer Park Shopping Center, the Comcast Center, and Live! Casino and Hotel.