Co-owner Billy D’Ambrosia
In pondering a business venture two decades ago, Billy D’Ambrosia felt that a tanning salon could help to make him a bright presence in South Philly. When circumstances thwarted that idea, he gave added credence to his parents’ desire to open an eatery, and, since 1997, he and his creative creators have overseen Talk of the Town Cheesesteaks.
“They deserve credit for having a dream,” the co-proprietor said from the thriving Packer Park location. “They had the ambition every step of the way, and it keeps paying off.”
The Girard Estate resident has loved logging years as an equally passionate provider of provisions, especially since he and parents Cheryl and Bill initially needed to rebuild the space from scratch because of a fire. His father, who once helmed a local cheesesteak shop, taught D’Ambrosia much of what he knows about the culinary industry, but both can claim that they inspired his professionalism.
“I love hearing stories and talking with people,” he said of the amicable atmosphere that he stresses as an operational must. “I feel as if I’m welcoming people to my home when they come here, so there has to be that consideration for making every experience great.”
D’Ambrosia, whose patriarch also served for four decades as the president of the Delaware Valley Youth Athletic Association, nourishes an affinity for competition, too, and his location’s proximity to the Sports Complex has enabled him to fraternize with numerous athletes whose images he has immortalized on Talk of the Town’s walls and through Facebook. Regardless of relative fame or anonymity, his spot rarely goes without heavy traffic, which D’Ambrosia said counts as a testament to the freshness of the food.
“Again, that comes from thinking the customers are like family members,” he said. “It’s easy to say to our team that they shouldn’t present to anyone something that they wouldn’t eat themselves. We take pride in everything that comes out of here.”
One could easily take a long time to place an order at Talk of the Town because of the many tempting options, with D’Ambrosia noting the regard with which people esteem the chicken cutlet selections. For this space, though, he went up one section on the menu and grabbed the Italiano Roast Pork as this week’s Food Feature contribution.
“We’ve had it since we opened, and it just bursts with flavor,” he said. “It’s one of my favorites, too, because the cooking process just makes you that much more eager to eat it since it requires a few hours. Trust me that if you make this at home, you’re going to feel the same way.”
25 pounds of pork
1/2 cup of black pepper
1–1/2 cups of chopped garlic
1–1/2 cups of hot sauce
1 pack of onion soup dip
Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.
Pour oil in the base of a large pan. Spread the pepper, garlic, and onion soup dip around the pan and the pork. Cover the pork with the oil, and place its bones alongside it. Fill the pan about ¾ of the way with water, which you will use for juice when done preparing the pork. Cook for five hours. Serve as sandwiches with the cheese and broccoli rabe as toppings. SPR
Talk of the Town Cheesesteaks
Owners: The D’Ambrosia Family
3020 S. Broad St. • 215–551–7277
Photos by Tina Garceau