Civic group endorses new sandwich shop on Holme Avenue

A zoning consultant said he and his son want to open the business in a strip mall anchored by Beneficial Bank.

A local zoning consultant proposes to open a new sandwich shop in a Holme Avenue shopping center. PHOTO: GOOGLE MAPS

Folks who attend civic association meetings in the Northeast routinely should recognize zoning consultant Tom Citro.

For more than 20 years, Citro has been appearing at meetings from Somerton to Frankford and everywhere between advocating for zoning applicants. Sometimes, Citro convinces neighbors to endorse his clients’ plans, even when they don’t conform to the city’s zoning code. A lot of times, neighbors reject Citro’s appeals.

But during a meeting of the Holme Circle Civic Association last Wednesday, neighbors did something different. They endorsed Citro’s own business plan unanimously.

The consultant said he and his son want to open a new sandwich shop at 2863 Holme Ave. in a strip mall anchored by Beneficial Bank. It’s the same storefront where another sandwich shop, Meatheads, operated most recently, although the space has been vacant for months.

According to Citro, the business needs a special certification from the city to prepare hot food for takeout. Meatheads never had that certificate, according to city records, so Citro’s business can’t inherit the legal use.

Citro said that the shop will be a franchise of Fresh Works, a company that used to operate as Steak and Hoagie Works. The space is 1,600 square feet. They will not sell pizza, cigarettes or alcoholic beverages. There will be seating for about 20 and a delivery service. The business will employ about six people including the owners. The site will be handicapped accessible. There will be daily commercial trash pickup with trash stored in the rear.

Citro said that other tenants of the shopping center, including Beneficial Bank, support the new use. Members of the civic association voted unanimously to support granting the zoning certificate. A zoning hearing will be on June 28.

In unrelated business, the civic association voted unanimously to support a Nazareth Hospital nurse’s effort to have a portion of Fairfield Street dedicated in memory of Dr. Angelo DiBello, who passed away at age 89 on March 28. Fairfield Street runs from Stanwood Street, across Holme Avenue and into the hospital parking lot, which is now posted as Hospital Drive.

Local resident Carmen Galore and his family highlighted the achievements of the Rev. George Lepping, a Marist priest and Tacony native who was a missionary in the Solomon Islands at the outbreak of World War II and was imprisoned by the invading Japanese for three-and-a-half years.

Lepping taught English and Christian doctrine to other captives at the prison camp. He and other captive priests secretly celebrated 30 Masses a day. After the war, Lepping volunteered to work in Japan but instead returned to the Solomon Islands where he served in local parishes until his retirement.

In later years, Lepping returned to Philadelphia and lived in a twin home at 2839 Holme Ave. ••

William Kenny can be reached at 215–354–3031 or wkenny@bsmphilly.com. Follow the Times on Twitter @NETimesOfficial.