Had he stuck with his career as an accountant, Anthony Lombardi would certainly have found himself in demand every winter and early spring, but why settle for a cluster of activity followed by “dry and mundane” endeavors when one can pursue a true passion each day? Owing to his father’s influence as a companion for carnivores, the New Jersey inhabitant decided to return to his childhood vocation and has guided Lombardi’s Prime Meats, 1801 Packer Ave., since 2001.
“Making great connections with our customers really drives me,” the 50-year-old said from his Packer Park-situated business. “I grew up in this community, so I definitely want people here to enjoy our products, and I want people from all over South Philly and beyond to feel welcome, too.”
The South Philly native recalled helping patriarch Vince when attending St. John Neumann High School, formerly 2600 Moore St., as the latter helmed Al’s Meat Market at 20th and Jackson streets. Coveting camaraderie with locals and tired of being stuck in a cubicle, the younger Lombardi proved father knows best 15 years ago and has proven a profitable protein provider for those in his initial turf.
“It’s great to be your own boss, sure, but it’s also pretty special to sustain a dying art,” he said. “Plus, I’m a people person, and it doesn’t get any better than being able to interact with people around here.”
He and his cohorts, including his dad, who serves, if you will, as owner emeritus, have won renown, including South Philly Review Readers’ Choice Awards kudos, for being a cut above the rest, but they have also garnered praise for their prepared foods items, which have complemented choice selections for the last 10 years.
“They’re a great part of our identity,” Anthony Lombardi said of the 10 goodies, including Chicken Cordon Bleu and Chicken Stuffed with Spinach. “No matter what you’re looking for, we’re eager to make it the best you’ve ever tasted.”
South Philadelphians certainly have a long history with eating chicken cutlets, so the proprietor gladly talked about his site’s breaded version for this week’s Food Feature space.
“They’re popular all year, even on Lenten Fridays,” he said with a smile. “People kiss it up to God first before they eat them.”
Lombardi’s Prime Meats hawks five or six tubs of the poultry powerhouses daily, with the businessman noting each tub weighs almost 20 pounds. As for what, aside from a desire to dine on a trusted option, keeps people sharpening their knives for his cutlets, Anthony Lombardi noted the combination of the garlic and the cheese makes buyers’ eventual home-based cooking sessions turn out beautifully.
“You’ll hear people talk about our sausage, and we definitely take pride in that,” he said. “However, we’re happy that people take to these cutlets so much, too. They’re a reliable example of how much love goes into what we do here each day.”
10 to 15 pounds of cutlets
Pecorino Romano cheese
Fresh garlic and parsley
Since Lombardi’s sells the cutlets as a prepared food, purchasers need only to fry the poultry until it reaches the desired crispiness and color. ■
Lombardi’s Prime Meats
Owner: Anthony Lombardi
1801 Packer Avenue | 215-940-2211
Photo by Tina Garceau
Vince and Anthony Lombardi