March 20, 2019

   

Rest in Peace Mr. Mike Mastrocola

Rest in Peace Mr. Mike Mastrocola

12/20/18

by Brian Coll

Mike, (on the left) with Executive Chef Mike Hamilton at the Great American Pub along with Dominic Gambone from the Conshohocken Italian Bakery.

I can still smell that pork….. I grew up between 8th and 9th on Forrest Street. Our corner deli or sandwich shop was Jem’s, my mom worked there for awhile and it was one of the first places we could walk to as kids unsupervised. Most days we’d hit Pete’s Hardware Store and Jem’s and if there was a few cents left we’d be hustling down to Josie’s Candy Store. I can’t tell you exactly when that corner ceased to be Jem’s and I could look it up, but maybe it makes a better story when I simply started to “smell” the pork in the air around 9th and Fayette. Michael Mastrocola brought a pork recipe to Conshohocken by way of Tuscany that had people lining up for a sandwich on a fresh Conshohocken Italian Bakery Roll or to bring a quart home for the family. Jem’s had great sandwiches but the pork from Mastrocola was out of this world. Lucky for us, he passed along his secret recipe to his son, and currently their pork can be bought in the area and recently it was available at Whole Foods (I haven’t been to Whole Foods in awhile so I can’t say for sure if it is still available there or not 100%) I say son, but it was a family business, and if the Mastrocola family is reading this, we are sorry for your loss. I personally enjoyed my conversations with him and I know my dad treasured his time with him. It was good to see an immigrant come to America, work hard for everything he had, leave his mark in multiple businesses (before the deli’s he was an excellent shoe repairman) and leave a lasting impression on a community.

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