Talking to the Sarcone's and their loyal customers and employees about bread, family, and tradition. 

Video by Felicia Perretti.

Louis Sarcone Sr., 83, South Philadelphia baking icon


If you’ve ever enjoyed a hoagie, cheesesteak, or roast pork sandwich over the years, there is a good chance that its roll came from Sarcone’s Bakery in South Philadelphia.

The Sarcone family, which set up shop in 1918 in a rowhouse on Ninth Street between Catharine and Fitzwater, lost its patriarch.

Louis Sarcone Sr., 83, who succeeded his grandfather Luigi and his father, Peter, in the business, died Tuesday, July 3 in the house where he grew up with three sisters, his parents, and grandparents. He had been in failing health since May, his daughter, Linda Sarcone, said.

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The flavor also rises: Baking bread takes time at Sarcone’s


"Ninety percent of bakeries work the dough right out of the mixer," says Louis Sarcone Jr., 38, snappy in his baker's whites, his crew sliding long wooden paddles into – and then back out of – the tile-faced brick ovens. "We let it sit two hours before we touch it. "

He is trying to answer my question, which, simply put, is this: What's the flavor secret of the distinctive seeded breads and round rolls Sarcone's has sold since Grandfather Luigi started baking downstairs in 1918?

This is daily bread, artisanal only because it was never otherwise: $1.25 for a long sesame-seeded loaf (a nickel less for no seeds), the rolls priced just as amazingly: $2.50 for a dozen cushiony kaisers.

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Family reflects on Louis Sarcone, cherishes bakery’s 100 milestone


As children in the bakery, Louis Sarcone, Jr., and his sister, Linda, remember dozing off on flour bags before daybreak.

Warmth from brick ovens and scents of raw dough made it strenuous to stay awake, but as years have passed, the siblings say peering at their father through tired eyes, they were unknowingly inheriting his approach to resolve — and recipes.

On July 3, the patriarch of Sarcone’s Bakery, Louis Edmond Sarcone, passed away at the age of 83. Louis Sarcone, the third generation of the Sarcone lineage, lived to see the South Philly institution’s century-old milestone, as the tiny Italian bakery nestled on 9th Street was established in 1918 by his grandfather, Luigi.

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The sons also rise at Sarcone's Bakery (the inquirer)


"In 1918, Luigi Sarcone started running a bakery in the basement of a rowhouse on Ninth Street, just north of the Italian Market and next door to Ralph’s restaurant, another long-running South Philadelphia business.

Sarcone eventually passed the bakery — which later moved upstairs — to his son, Peter, who then left it to his son, Louis Sr., who turned it over to his son, Louis Jr., now 54. The fifth generation, Louis 3rd, 30, runs Sarcone’s Bakery with his father.

The Sarcones — like the Dispigno/Rubino family that owns Ralph’s — have a long history on the block. Louis Sr., who grew up with his parents and sisters above the bakery, married Lillian Brodman, from Second Street, and they raised their son and daughter in Cherry Hill. After Lillian’s death in 2014, Louis Sr. moved back, to an apartment above the bakery. His daughter, Linda, who grew tired of life in New Jersey, lives across the street and works at the bakery. Up the block, Louis Jr. helped a first cousin, Anthony Bucci, open a deli, Sarcone’s, that closed last month."

Read the rest at Philly.com.

What Is Tomato Pie, Anyway? (Eater Philly)

"The bakery still uses the same recipe developed by Louis's great-grandmother. In typical nonna fashion, she had a small kitchen in the back of the bakery where she would simmer the gravy (it's always called gravy around these parts), top her round tomato pies, and place them in the bakery's window. But the pie has evolved over the years from that round form into a rectangular affair. "It was basically what people were asking for," Sarcone says of the shape shift. "Most pizza parlors that came to America, they were making the traditional round pie."

Read the rest on Eater Philly.

On Hoagies, Elections, and Food Writing (Bon Apetit)

But inside, it was business as usual—a refrigerated glass case filled with deep-pink cold cuts and yellow logs of provolone. A few employees behind the counter showered shredded iceberg onto splayed-open hero rolls from Sarcone's Bakery, dousing them with oil and vinegar.

Excited as I was by it all, it was clear to the young guy at the register, with his slick of black hair, that I was a rookie, struggling to get my order right. But like so many of the folks whose doors I knocked on, he was patient with me, plenty friendly.

Read the rest at Bon Appetit.