Cafe And Tribute

Rick Nichols can really paint a picture with words. In Sunday’s Inquirer he stepped inside Mr. Joe’s Cafe on South 8th Street.

Mr. Joe’s is a cafe, but maybe more so it is a shrine to Joseph Termini, the founder of Termini’s Bakery.

The cafe’s tabletops are polished granite. The counter has a stylish coffee-bar cast. But it is not long at Mr. Joe’s before clarity gives way to the misty past: A dented torrone pot hangs against one wall, a mobile of relics dangling above it – an old spumoni scoop, a serrated wheel once used to seal ravioli pockets. In glass-fronted cases, after a while, you make out the lines of two varnished-wood radios that once played for Mr. Joe, and his maroon-rimmed coffee mug and two-pronged cherry pitter and balloon whisk and, its yellowed sweat line visible, the paper baker’s cap that 5-foot, 2-inch Joe Termini wore so devotedly that it was propped next to the casket at his funeral.

Respects to Mr. Joe [Philadelphia Inquirer]

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